Quezon City —- On February 28, 2018, the Sugar Tripartite Council (STC) recommended to Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III the approval of the proposed budget for various socio-economic projects during its first Special Meeting at the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Board Room.
The STC serves as an advisory body to the Department of Labor and Employment for the implementation of the social and economic programs for workers in the sugar industry and helps in the prevention and settlement of labor disputes. It was formed through the Republic Act No. 6982 (An Act Strengthening the Social Amelioration Program in the Sugar Industry).
Aside from its regular meetings, the STC holds special meetings to discuss urgent matters that were not covered during the regular meetings and deliberate project proposals that need immediate decision. For the first Special Meeting of this year, the STC members unanimously agreed to recommend the approval of the following projects:
- 1.2018 Budget of the Sugar Industry Foundation Inc. (SIFI) amounting to Php 26M for the implementation of various socio-economic projects which will cover almost 13,839 beneficiaries and 23 block farms;
- 2.Request of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) for a supplemental budget amounting to Php 67,900.00 for the conduct of Facilitators’ Training Workshop on SAP among selected agricultural workers in sugarcane plantations; and
- 3.Proposed Emergency Employment Assistance amounting to Php 3,799,437.50 for the 775 sugar workers displaced on the onset of Typhoon Urduja.
The said projects are intended to improve the socio-economic well-being of sugar workers including their families, through the Educational Aid Program which includes college scholarship, college assitanceship, skills training, and support activities; Health Services which include medical-dental missions and healthcare plan for enrolled sugar workers and dependents; and Livelihood Support Program which includes the conduct of organizational strengthening training and technical support for agrarian reform beneficiaries as well as provision of financial grant/start-up kits to sugar workers and farmers.
During its first regular meeting for 2018, the STC also agreed to recommend the approval of the following:
- 1.Proposed budget amounting to Php 16.4M for the operations of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP);
- 2.Proposed budget of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, Inc. amounting to Php 2.8M for the implementation of Socio-Economic Development Program for sugar industry workers and dependents;
- 3.Conduct of Facilitators’ Training Workshop on Education/Information Dissemination Campaign on SAP by the UMA amounting to Php 193,400.00;
- 4.Operationalization of the Zoilo V. Dela Cruz Development Center for Sugar Workers or Sugar Workers Development Center amounting to Php 2.9M;
- 5.Representation of the SRA to the STC; and
- 6.Creation of STC Special Committee to Review DOLE Department Order No. 114-11.
In return, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III signed the resolutions approving the said proposals last February 7, 2018, providing more opportunities to the workers in the sugar industry.