Tiempo Muerto takes its toll on sugar farmers in Negros
Sugar farm workers in Negros Occidental, tagged as the sugar bowl of the Philippines, are protesting following the effects of “season of hunger and death for sugar worker.”
With the “Tiempo Muerto” or the so-called dead season setting in, sugar farm workers in the area have no other means of livelihood, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said through Subselfie.com. There’s no work waiting for them in the farm, and they certainly do not own the lands they’re working for.
In the report, Leni, a sugarcane field farmer, shared her payslip only amounting to P43.42. This is what’s left after considering all the deductions from the supplies and rice that she took on loan from the cooperative store in the farm.
The report said that the farmers are demanding access to Negros’ P40 million calamity fund and the multi-million Social Amelioration Fund (SAF) to deliver speedy relief to affected sugar workers. Making the condition worse, Negros declared state of calamity last April due to effects of El Niño phenomenon.
The tiempo muerto sets in every year, and every time, the sugar farmers have no choice but to withstand hunger until they get the opportunity to farm again and feed their families.