Leaders of sugar workers organizations and agrarian reform beneficiaries associations conducted a unity meeting in Bacolod City yesterday to seek an audience with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to the province this coming Friday to air their opposition to the proposed sugar liberalization.
Present at the unity meeting were Butch Lozande of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers (NFSW), Aaron Sorbito of the ARBs Sugar Farmers Federation, Kilusang Pagbabago, Alan Gozon of the Democratic Association of Labor Organizations (DALO),
Jovito Berden of the Alliance of Labor for Reforms (ALARM), Nelson Demegillo of the DALO-Commercial and Agro-Industrial Labor Organization (CAILO) and Alex Maloloy-on of the United Sugar Farmworkers Organization (USFO).
The National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry in the Philippines (NACUSIP), which is the largest workers organization in the sugar industry headed by Roland dela Cruz, was represented by Jun dela Cruz of the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (PACIWU), Benjie dela Cruz of the Congress of Independent Organizations (CIO), and Anthony John Demisana of the ARBs group.
Foremost in their agenda is the preparation of a manifesto or open letter addressed to Pres. Duterte, with the anticipation that they can have the opportunity to personally present their petition to the President this coming Friday.
“We hope we can make the President realize that, by virtue of our sheer numbers, we are the new, genuine face of the sugar industry, and that our members and our families will be the first to go hungry, if the domestic market will be flooded with cheaper, highly subsidized imported sugar,” said Sorbito.
Recently, Nacusip launched a signature drive dubbed as “One Million Signatures Campaign Against Sugar Liberalization”. The campaign has gained support not only from workers and farmers organizations, but also from business groups and the public at large. Copies of the petition are circulating in the grassroots level.
The group and its allied organizations are also planning to set up signing centers in other locations to make it more convenient for the public to sign the petition.(NDB)*