DOLE calls for sugar-workers roadmap given AFTA tariff reduction

Published by rudy Date posted on August 28, 2013

The Department of Labor and Employment is preparing for the possible negative effects the reduction of imported sugar tariff’s, as scheduled in the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), will have on thousands of sugar workers.

Given that the AFTA, of which the Philippines is a signatory, calls for the reduction of sugar tariffs to five percent by 2015 from the present 18 precent, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has called for an industry-wide workshop which will gather inputs for the formulation of a sugar workers roadmap.

Baldoz, in a meeting with sugar industry stakeholders, said that, though there was a roadmap for the sugar industry as prepared by the Sugar Regulatory Administration, there was no roadmap for sugar workers.

“The workers should not be left behind; there is a need for us to move as one and fast to replicate or adopt existing successful models,” Baldoz said.

“For those who cannot remain in the industry, we have to prepare them for alternative employment, or livelihood,” she added.

The the two-day workshop for sugar industry stakeholders will be organized by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns.

Information gathered during the workshop will be used to develop the sugar-workers roadmap, which will form part of the sugar industry roadmap to be submitted to President Benigno Aquino III. — DVM, GMA News

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