BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The sending of thousands of migratory sugarcane workers to sugar-rich Negros Occidental appears to be part of the Antique economy, disclosed former Sugar Regulatory Administration board member-turned 5th District Rep. Emilio “Dino” Yulo III yesterday.
Yulo said that Antique provides livelihood to about 5,000 of its documented farm workers a year, by sending them to Negros Occidental. This does not include undocumented migratory sugarcane workers.
On December 9, Gov. Rhodara “Dodod” Cadiao led Antique provincial officials in visiting some Negros Occidental sugar farms, to check on the living conditions of MSW (migratory sugarcane workers) from her province. They were accompanied by Rep. Yulo in Brgy. Talubangi, Kabankalan City.
“Indi tam-is ang kalamay sa (The sugar would not be sweet in) Negros if not the for the help of Antiqueños,” Yulo quipped.
The full documentation of MSWs coming into Negros Occidental, ironically started during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they were initially required to present negative RT-PCR test results, for entry into the province.
Antique provincial officials, who are now on their 7th year of visits to the province, want to ensure better working conditions for their province mates.
We have agreed, if there are problems, such as personal, or work-related, they should inform us so that we can help them, Yulo said, saying the same thing was done while he was still with the SRA, during the past three years.
He also said that Antique provincial government also put up a Help Desk to help MSWs sent to Negros Occidental.
Yulo said he is also campaigning for the mechanization of sugarcane farms in the province, to address the lack of manpower.*