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Over 200 sacadas bound for NegOcc

Over 200 sacadas, or sugar migrant workers, from Antique will leave for Negros Occidental on September 10 as the milling season is expected to start on the second week of next month.

Antique Sacada Desk in-charge Randy Ardeño said yesterday that five contractors are processing the documents of the workers in preparation for their transport.

These include their registration with the Department of Labor and Employment, the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage or S-PaSS online travel management system, membership with the Social Security System, and identification cards.

They will also undergo a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test before they will be brought to the Dumangas Port in Iloilo to board the vessel going to Negros Occidental.

The cost of the swab test will be shouldered by the sugar planters, who contracted their services.

Ardeño said the more than 200 sacadas will just be the initial deployment as there will be succeeding batches to work in Negros Occidental.

“For other contractors, they are being advised to already coordinate with the Sacada Desk so we could already process the IDs of the sacadas and their S-Pass,” he said.

He said that last year, 2,232 sacadas were hired by 63 contractors during the milling season period.

Earlier, the Negros Occidental provincial government set the rules for arriving migrant sugarcane workers amid the continuing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson issued Executive Order 21-42, series of 2021, with specific instructions for individual planters and planters’ associations on the return of sugarcane plantation workers.

“In light of forthcoming sugarcane crop season for 2021-2022, there will be an expected influx of migrant sugarcane workers. Hence, there is a need to issue proactive guidelines to prevent the potential surge of Covid-19 cases in the province,” Lacson said.

Each year, at least 5,000 cane cutters from Antique work in sugarcane plantations in Negros Occidental, the country’s top sugar-producing province.

Individual planters are directed to submit the list of migrant workers they require to their association, which includes the names of the workers, basic information, place of assignment, and preferred date of transport to Negros Occidental.

The planters’ association will then endorse the list to the provincial government for proper coordination.

When entering the province, each migrant sugarcane worker must present a travel coordination permit issued by the S-PaSS, and negative RT-PCR test result valid for 72 hours from the date of swab sample extraction, the EO said.

Those who cannot present a negative RT-PCR test result will be required to submit to a swab test upon arrival. For every migrant sugarcane worker who will avail of the service, the planter is required to deposit P1,500 as donation to the provincial government to aid in the purchase of RT-PCR test kits.*PNA

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