The management of Hacienda Luisita, owned by the Aquino and Cojuangco families, was accused of anti-labor practices on 1,000 farm workers it hired last year. Social Welfare Sec. Judy Taguiwalo said the sacadas or migratory sugar workers were promised P450 a day, but were only paid from P80.01 to 269.52/week or only P11.43 to P38.50/day. Also, when the farm workers could not work because of illness or exhaustion, they were denied food and the cost of the provisions were deducted from their already measly salaries. The farm workers were recruited in Mindanao last November by Greenhand Labor Service Cooperative Agrikulto Inc. and Central Azucarera de Tarlac to work in Hacienda Luisita. The workers escaped saying they could no longer take the exploitation at the hands of Hacienda Luisita management. Seventy of the farm workers sought the help of a workers’ union that brought them to the DSWD which helped them go back to Mindanao.
Nelson S. Badilla