Sugar Regulatory Administration Board Member, Emilio Yulo, is urging the Department of Labor and Employment to immediately release the production share of sugar workers that falls under the BISCOM milling district, estimated at about P200 million.
“We are about to start the next milling season but our workers have not received their share yet from the last milling season,” Yulo said in a press release.
Republic Act No. 809, or the Act to Regulate the Relations Among Persons Engaged in the Sugar Industry, provides a three percent direct share to farm laborers from the total production in the milling district. Based on yearly produce, the amount is estimated at P200 million or more, Yulo said.
He added that the share is usually given June or July to provide workers with funds in time for the school opening. Now that school opening has been delayed to August, it does not mean that DOLE will release the funds later than usual, Yulo said.
Yulo said the funds will help alleviate the plight of the workers especially with the Covid-19 pandemic, and spur economic activity in southern Negros, particularly in the city of Himamaylan and the towns of Binalbagan, Moises Padilla, Isabela, and Hinigaran, the press release said.
He added that, last year, “the DOLE also delayed the release of labor’s share and I hope they have it ready this time since classes will start soon.”
Meanwhile, Yulo said they are now in the process of drafting the guidelines for sugar migrant workers who will be coming in from Negros Oriental, starting next month.
He said he met with Inter-Agency Task Force representatives from the provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental at the border of Mabinay Tuesday to discuss the health protocols and requirements needed to bring in migrant workers from the Oriental side when milling season starts in September.
“We will submit the guidelines for the approval of the two governors early next week and disseminate the same to all planters’ associations and local government units where the migrant workers will be situated,” Yulo said.
Most farm workers from Negros Oriental help out in the early part of the milling season in Occidental as their season usually starts by December yet, Yulo added.
The meeting was attended by 6th District Board Member Jeffrey Tubola, Zephard Caelian and Ian de la Cruz of the PDRRMO Negros Occidental, information officer Bimbo Miraflor and tourism officer Myla Mae Abellana for Negros Oriental, among others, the press release added.*