By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Sugar workers belonging to the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) held a rally yesterday morning at the Old Provincial Capitol Building demanding the end of tiempo muerto or dead season in the sugar industry.
NFSW Secretary General John Losande in a statement said they want a dialog with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to address the worsening situation of hunger and poverty during the tiempo muerto from May to September every year.
Tiempo muerto happens in the province when sugar centrals stop milling and the cultivations of the sugarcane plantations are already done leaving the sugar workers with no work.
The sugar workers claim that the situation worsened due to the quarry and mining operations in the province wherein on January 20, 2021 they experienced a flash flood that washed out their rice fields and affected their livelihood.
On the assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the sugar workers claim that several of them did not receive financial assistance under the Bayanihan Acts 1 and 2.
They are seeking the attention of the Department of Interior and Local Government about the complaints against barangays having unliquidated projects from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Their associations, they said, cannot avail of the projects from DOLE because some barangays failed to liquidate and update reports of the projects from DOLE.
They are also asking for a Board Resolution from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to address the effect of tiempo muerto and the livelihood projects and assistance.
KMU Secretary General Danilo Tabora said Lacson sent Renelo Lastiere, head of Capitol Security, who pledged to give them rice assistance./DGB, WDJ