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Sugarcane workers rescued from Hacienda Luisita

by UNTV News   |   Friday, January 6th, 2017

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Workers in the sugarcane fields of Hacienda Luisita have been rescued from alleged maltreatment.

More than 50 ‘Sakadas’ or sugarcane workers are now at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) after escaping from Hacienda Luisita.

Most of them were rescued in the last week of December 2016 while some just recently abandoned the area.

“Iba’t-ibang paraan ang ano nila, paano sila makaalis? Kaya po meron mga sinundo. Lumabas sila kasi, ayon sa kanila, kapag gabi naka-padlock,” sadi Danilo Ramos, Secretary General of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura.

(They tried various ways of escaping. That’s why we had to pick some of them up because they claim that the area is padlocked at night.)

They complained of not receiving the promised salary and other benefits such as the Social Security System.

They said that they’ve only received 9.46 pesos to 128.31 pesos for daily wage which is much lower than a farm worker’s minimum salary in Region 3 which is 334 pesos.

They also worked for 13 hours a day from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are around 800 of them at the Hacienda Luisita but now it went down to around 20 according to a rescued sakada.

Around 160 of them were recruited from Bukidnon while others were from Cotabato and Davao.

“Mag-i-isang linggo na walang dumarating sa amin na pagkain, tuloy doon sa tinatabasan namin ng tubo nanghuhuli nalang kami ng palaka para may makain kami doon sa hirap ng buhay namin doon,” narrated one of the rescued sakadas Roselito Bravo

(Our life there is difficult. There are no supply of food for almost a week so we are forced to catch frog for us to have something to eat.)

The labor violations had been reported to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The sakadas are also planning to file a criminal case, particularly human trafficking, against the contractor Greenhand Labor Service Cooperative and also to the principal employer Agrikulto Inc. and Central Azucarera de Tarlac.

UNTV News is still waiting for the response of the Department of Labor and Employment regarding the issue. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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