Around 300 representatives of sugar workers and farmers organizations in Negros Occidental will gather todayin an assembly on what they consider a looming sugar industry crisis and to draft resolutions on how to address it.
National Federation of Sugarcane Workers secretary-general, John Milton Lozande,said yesterday that the assembly will be held at the Sugar Worker Development Center in Bacolod City as it will tackle issues and concern of sugar workers.
He said NFSW fears that these sector will be the most affected if the crises happens, considering that the milling season opened last month with a big price drop from last year.
Lozande said last year the starting price of sugar was P1,800 per Lkg (50-kilogram) but this year it is only P1,370, adding that it is expected to go lower as more sugarcane areas are still in the harvesting stage.
A sugar summit attended by local government leaders and sugarcane planters were held in September, however, NFSW said the concerns of the workers' seemed to be forgotten.
NFSW said in a press release that the list of resolutions adopted during the sugar summit was “devoid of substances that touch the welfare of the sugar workers”, who are the “backbone of the industry.”
“We believed thatthe looming crisis of the sugar industry could be mainly attributed to the inclination of the government towards Neo-Liberal economic policies, and not simply in the over importation of sugar-based products like the HFCS”, the press release added.
Copies of the resolutions drafted in the event will be given to all concerned government agencies for them to address, he added.
After the assembly, they will hold a rally in the afternoon, marching from the Cottage Road going to the Fountain of Justice at the old Bacolod City Hall to protest over this issue, Lozande also said.
He said that, apart from Negros, NFSW plans to bring this kind of activity to other sugar producing regions to make sure that the problem will be felt by the government. *MLG
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