T’boli farmers escape Hacienda Luisita after allegedly being paid P160 a week

MANILA, Philippines - Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary Dr. Lorraine Badoy has shared the heart-wrenching plight of farmers from Mindanao who allegedly escaped Hacienda Luisita.

T’boli farmers escape Hacienda Luisita
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Lorraine Badoy
In her viral Facebook post, Badoy divulged that a group of T’boli farmers were seen sleeping in the streets near Aguinaldo. Luckily, good samaritans Ricky Medenilla and Pia Castro found them, took them to their homes and fed them. The farmers were eventually brought to the DSWD.

Apparently, the group of farmers were recruited to work for Hacienda Luisita with a promise of P500 a day salary. Hundreds of farmers left their families in Mindanao to seek greener pastures in the Cojuangco-owned hacienda.

Unfortunately, the promise of a better life didn’t seem to await them in Hacienda Luisita. Instead of paying them P500 a day, farmers reportedly received a maximum of P160 a week.

“When the dust had settled, the highest they were paid was 160 pesos a WEEK. Often it went down to as low as 40 pesos a week,” Badoy wrote in her post.

Aside from the terrible pay, the farmers were supposedly made to pay for the food they consume that include rotten sardines and noodles. In some days, these farmers allegedly scrounge garbage in search for food since they had nothing to eat.

In addition, Badoy alleged that the farmers were made to pay P6,000 for a sack of rice they consume. The amount was reportedly deducted from their “50 peso-a-week take home pay.”

“I want justice for them. I want them paid over and beyond what they were promised—for all the grief, all the abuses, all the hardships they’ve had to endure in the hands of the greedy oligarchs. A case has been filed against Hacienda Luisita and it is in the DOLE. I want us all to be so invested in it and watch it with eagle eyes,” Badoy added.

Aside from taking the farmers into their custody, Medenilla and Castro also raised funds which the farmers can use to buy seedlings and fertilizers.

“The farmers will be guided by the DSWD to approach credible peasant organizations that are accredited by the DSWD. These peasant organizations will then help them buy seeds and fertilizers WITH THE MONEY YOU GAVE THEM--which are what they need and want in the first place,” Badoy wrote in a recent update.

On Wednesday, February 22, the farmers already boarded the bus that would take them home.

Read Badoy’s full post below.

Located in Tarlac, Hacienda Luisita is a 6,000-hectare sugar plantation primarily owned by the family of former Presidents Benigno Aquino III and the late Corazon Aquino.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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