PHOTO CAPTION: A total of about 4,000 sugarcane farm workers is expected to arrive by batches in Negros Occidental soon for this year’s milling season./iNEWS
BACOLOD CITY–The first batch of migratory sugarcane field workers, commonly known as “sacadas”, arrived from Antique on Friday, signaling the start of the milling season, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said.
The sacadas will work in sugarcane farms in Negros Occidental for the duration of the sugar milling season that starts in September and ends around March next year.
The 33 sacadas were swabbed for COVID-19 tests, the cost of which is partly shouldered by the farm owners, and will be quarantined in the farm where they will be employed until their test results are out, Lacson divulged.
The governor added that about 4,000 sugarcane workers are expected to arrive in the province.
Asked why sugar planters in Negros need to hire migratory workers from other seasons, Lacson replied, “It is very difficult to hire cane cutters from the province.”
In Antique, the provincial government recorded over 200 sacadas set to leave for Negros Occidental on Sept. 10.
Antique Sacada Desk in charge Randy Ardeño said five contractors are processing the documents of the workers in preparation for their transport.
These included their registration with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) online travel management system, membership with the Social Security System (SSS), and identification cards.
The sacadas will also undergo RT-PCR testing before they will be brought to the seaport in Dumangas, Iloilo to board a vessel going to Negros Occidental.
“For other contractors, they are advised to coordinate with the Sacada Desk so the IDs and S-PaSSes of the sacadas can be processed,” Ardeño said.
Last year 2,232 Antique sacadas were hired by 63 contractors for the milling season after the Antique provincial government created a system for their legal deployment at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)