Sugarcane workers in Western Visayas, who did not receive cash aid from the welfare department and other sources, were recently provided with cash assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
A total of P16 million was released by the agency in Region 6 to provide the sacadas or workers in the sugar cane fields P1,000 each.
“We wanted to reach out to our sugarcane workers because they are one of the most vulnerable and marginalized workers in the country and the COVID-19 pandemic had added to their hardships,” Mary Agnes Capigon, head of DOLE’s provincial field office, said.
Capigon said the regional office released the assistance with the help of the local Sugar Tripartite Council and the coordination of 26 planters’ associations and nine sugar mills in the region.
The beneficiaries came from Bacolod City, Talisay City, Silay City, Victorias City, Cadiz City, Sagay City, San Carlos City, Bago City, La Carlota City, Kabankalan City, Sipalay City, and the municipalities of E.B. Magalona, Murcia, Valladolid, Pontevedra, Binalbagan, Manapla, and Ilog.
The cash aid was given through the department’s Emergency Subsidy Program as part of the government’s “Bayanihan-1” program. It was given to the workers in several tranches that started in May up to this month.
“The distribution of the cash aid is still ongoing and will continue until we fully release the total allocated budget for Negros Occidental,” Capigon said.
Meanwhile, the families of the “Sagay 9” massacre were also given livelihood aid.
She said that the department has extended livelihood assistance to the families of nine sugarcane workers who were massacred last October 2018 by still unidentified men in one hacienda in Sagay City.
Livelihood assistance to families of the deceased ranging from a start-up sari-sari store, dried fish venture and piggery businesses was recently released.