Department of Labor and Employment Secretary, Rosalinda Baldoz, said Saturday sugar workers, including itinerant “sacada” (cane cutters and haulers), are now covered by the amended implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 6982, or the Sugar Amelioration Act of 1991, a government press release said.
Among the amendments is the inclusion in the coverage of the cash bonus distribution program, a main feature of the law, all sugar workers regardless of employment status, except managerial employees.
Baldoz said the amended IRR, contained under Department Order No. 114-11, also enhances social protection and promotes the welfare of small farm cultivators and the sacada or migratory sugar farm workers who are the most vulnerable workers in the sugar industry because of the seasonal nature of their employment.
The amended IRR also ensures the presence of the labor sector in the District Tripartite Partners, through a representative to be appointed by the DOLE secretary upon the recommendation of the concerned DOLE regional director.
It also reduces the required period of employment to qualify for maternity and death benefits and increases the funding allocation for employment, livelihood, training, health enhancement, education, and other related programs designed to further improve the social and economic conditions of the sugar workers and their families.
Under D.O. 114-11, DOLE regional offices will monitor the status of programs and projects in the sugar industry. They will also enforce compliance of sugar mills on the collection and remittance of the sugar lien and in the release, distribution,, and liquidation of the cash bonus fund, including the recovery of unclaimed and undistributed cash bonuses.*PNA