Sugar workers in Batangas affected by the local sugar mill’s sudden closure on Tuesday received financial aid after a series of talks between sugar workers and the House of Representatives.
Speaker Martin Romualdez led the distribution of aid to some 800 sugar farmers in Batangas whose livelihood were adversely affected by the closure of the largest sugar mill in the province. He also vowed to help find a long-term solution to the plight of all affected sectors.
It could be recalled that following the closure of Central Azucarera de Don Pedro Inc. (CADPI) in Nasugbu, Batangas, and the Sugar Folks Unity for Genuine Agricultural Reform, together with Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, sought the assistance of Speaker Martin Romualdez.
Romualdez said the lower chamber coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and secured through the department’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program P10,000 worth of assistance for every affected sugar farmers.
He assured all sectors affected by the sugar mill closure that he would help find a more comprehensive solution to address their plight.
He noted that the closure of CADPI, also the largest sugar mill in the whole Region 4 and the second largest in Luzon, had stripped 12,000 farmworkers of regular jobs; placed the farms of more than 8,772 farmers at risk, and displaced 125 mill workers.
“Today, as we distribute these much-needed resources, we are not just providing financial support; we are also offering a glimmer of hope, a symbol of solidarity, and a reminder that no one is alone in their struggles. It is my firm belief that by working together and supporting one another, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way,” he added.
Romualdez acknowledged the contributions of other officials in the effort to help the people affected by the sugar mill closure such as House Committee on Appropriations Chairperson Zaldy Co, Gabriela Rep. Brosas, Batangas 1st District Rep. Eric R. Buhain and his wife Eileen Ermita-Buhain, and Balayan Municipal officials led by Mayor Emmanuel Salvador P. Fronda II.
The Speaker was also joined during the AICS payout by TGP Party-List Rep. Jose “Bong” Teves Jr., Kabataan Party-List Rep. Raoul Manuel, and former ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio.