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Sugarcane workers rescued from Hacienda Luisita

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2017

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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EXCLUSIVE: DAR conducts aerial inspection over Boracay; concludes all structures are ‘illegal’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Boracay Island

BORACAY, Philippines – Agrarian Reform Undersecretary John Castriciones conducted an aerial inspection on Boracay Island Wednesday together with members of UNTV News Team.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has affirmed that all structures on Boracay Island can be considered illegal based on the declared land classification of the island.

“Ang nakita namin ay puro illegal structures ( We saw a lot of illegal structures). We can say that these are illegal structures because wala namang (there was no) conversion order na nangyari (that happened) ,” Castriciones said.

DAR’s record shows that 600 hectares of the more than 1,000 hectares total land area of Boracay are declared agricultural land under Proclamation 1064 issued in 2006.

The inspection was in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to assess productive lands in the island and distribute them to qualified beneficiaries.

Based on DAR’s initial inspection, about 15 hectares of land is feasible for reform and distribution. Castriciones said priority in DAR’s distribution list are the indigenous community and farmers who are natives in the island.

At present, DAR is ongoing with its land verification in Boracay. The agency will create a task force who will continue the validation process of the remaining agricultural land. – Lalaine Moreno / Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Boracay council pushes for temporary cessation of displaced workers’ SSS contributions

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, April 14th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Some shops at the Boracay Island

MANILA, Philippines — According to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – Western Visayas, an estimated 36,000 workers from over 3,000 registered establishments in Boracay will be affected by the temporary closure of the island starting April 26.

Due to the island’s shutdown, the displaced workers will not be able to pay monthly contribution and loans to Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG Fund.

The Boracay Industry Tripartite Council (BITC) created a resolution that seeks the implementation of moratorium or the temporary cessation of SSS monthly contributions of displaced workers in Boracay.

The council will also ask financial and technical assistance from national government agencies.

“This resolution involves appeal of the workers and the management sector asking for moratorium from SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig from payment of premiums kasi wala po silang kita (because they have no income), and then payment of loans,” DOLE-Aklan Director Carmela Abellar said.

Next week, DOLE central office and the Office of the President are expected to submit the resolution.

Meanwhile, the labor department is hastening the process of profiling of the formal and informal sectors in the island to be able to create an emergency employment plan and identify the scope of the closure’s impact.

“We are encouraging all those who have received the forms to accomplish that one and to submit even on a weekend,” said Abellar.

DOLE also reminded displaced workers of the opportunity to earn for being a part of the six-month rehabilitation program.

Also, layoffs are prohibited despite the closure. If they will terminate employees, employers must provide separation pay and benefits based on the law.

With leave during the six-month period, employees must return to work once the island reopens. — UNTV News & Rescue

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DOLE to form a job fair task force urging OFWs to work back home

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2018


MANILA, Philippines — A job fair and skills profiling will be conducted for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

This is through the creation of a job fair task force which aims to urge the OFWs in the said countries to just go home and find a job in their homeland.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, a mandate was allegedly given to DOLE  to lead the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE).

After which, the employers group in the country will hold a meeting to find job opportunities that the OFWs may apply for.

Sec. Bello added, the country currently needs 18,000 workers, that is why they are urging our fellow Filipinos in the Middle East to work in the country instead.

The DOLE also assured that the jobs they will give to OFWs are matched with their professions or skills to avoid job mismatching.

They will also ask the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to conduct necessary and additional training for the OFWs according to the requirement of employers supporting DOLE’s move to provide jobs for the OFWs while the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is tasked to provide welfare assistance during the job fair and even the repatriation of the distressed OFWs.

It can be recalled that an order was issued by President Duterte to repatriate OFWs who are working in nations with high incidence of  abuse cases to avoid any recurrence of Joanna Demafelis’ fate. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue




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