The National Federation of Sugar Workers called for an increase in farm wages and benefits, and an end to land conversion as they celebrated their 47 th founding anniversary yesterday.
NFSW chair Rolando Rillo said farmers and farm workers in every hacienda are now experiencing different issues, particularly the effects of tax reform and the continuous conversion of agricultural lands that made their situations worse.
“We need to forward the demands of the farmers for justifiable and right benefits in wages and land reform,” he said.
In celebration of their founding anniversary, the NFSW held their 7 th Regional Congress at the St. Vianney Hall at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.
Present were representatives from more than 100 local chapters of the NFSW in Negros Occidental, Rillo said.
With the effect of tax reform to the farmers worsening their situation, the organization is calling for a ‘50-50' reform in their wages, where there should be an additional P50 in daily wages and 50 percent increase in the “pakyaw” rates, he said.
Apart from the increase in wages, Rillo also said that landlords should stop converting agricultural lands into commercial or residential areas as it causes the displacement of farmers and farm workers, depriving them of the opportunities they could get from farming.
He added that their local chapters are continuously campaigning on this directly to the hacienda owners, and some have already responded and are implementing new reforms in farm wages.
“If there will be no reforms in farm wages, the current situation might kill us as we are now gripping on the edge of the knife,” he said.
After the program, the NFSW also held a torch parade to condemn the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, or TRAIN, law and the charter change pushed by the current administration.
Rillo also said that today, dialogs between the NFSW and the Department of Labor and Employment, Social Security System, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, will be held to discuss issues on wages and benefits. *MLG
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