One hundred eighty-three sugar migrants locally known as “sacadas” left Antique province in Panay today to return to work in the sugar fields of Negros Occidental.
Randy Ardeño, in-charge of the Sacada Desk under the Antique Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), said in an interview that the 183 sacadas belong to the first batch of the more than 1,600 sacadas who came home due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) lockdown last March and April.
“There are two millers who recruited the sacadas in Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental,” he said.
Ardeño said the sacadas will be working in two haciendas for the next six months based on their contract.
“The sacadas will help in the harvesting and milling of the sugarcane there,” he said, adding that they will be paid a P200 daily wage, P80 daily allowance and weekly incentives.
Ardeño said that upon their arrival in the haciendas, the workers will have to undergo swab test before they are sent off to work. This is in compliance with the health protocol being implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the deployment of sacadas to Negros Occidental.
“The sacadas today are undergoing swab test conducted by the local health officers of Kabankalan,” Ardeño said.
In an earlier interview with DOLE Antique provincial director Melisa Navarra, she said that the swab test is a requirement that was discussed during a meeting with millers’ representatives to ensure that sacadas are free of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and are fit to work.
“The swab test will not be charged against the sacadas but their employers,” she said.
Navarra said that for sacadas who are members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, then the agency will cover the cost of their swab test.
She said that aside from the swab test, the sacadas will have to undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine within their living quarters.
Likewise, millers will have to make sure that safe physical distancing will be observed in their quarters, hence these will only house 50 percent of their original capacity.*