Press Releases

Fifteen sugarcane workers including two minors from Eastern Samar, who were hired to work in the sugarcane plantation in Malaking Pook, San Pascual, Batangas, were rescued on Februay 06, 2022. Mr. Darius Allan Lubis (SAP officer) and Mr. Arthur Henry Ibon of the Department of Labor and Employment Batangas Provincial Office (DOLE BPO), in coordination with the San Pascual PNP, conducted the rescue operations.

Their action was based on the request of Atty. Philip Evardone of the Eastern Samar Provincial Government and their Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) to facilitate the immediate repatriation of said workers who were illegally recruited and confined in the sugarcane plantation of Gregoria de Chavez. Accordingly, the subject workers conveyed their request for help through Facebook postings and calls.

The on-site investigation and validation of the DOLE SAP Officer revealed that Ms. Chavez had acquired the services of the subject workers through the help of a fish vendor in San Jose, Batangas, who promised to recruit workers from Samar to work in her farm. The workers arrived on January 24, 2022 and were provided with cash advances and free accommodation including free water and electricity on a certain limit.


The workers were paid P300 per ton, the customary scheme of payment (kalakaran), in sugar farms in the locality. Ms. Chavez found out, however, that the group of workers were unskilled to work in the plantation resulting to low productivity. Thus, their collective earnings from their jobs are inadequate to meet their daily subsistence. This resulted to accumulation of their cash advances totaling P143,000, inclusive of the amount of their transportation fare in going to Batangas. This was the planter’s reason to put the workers on hold. She wanted them finished their jobs for her to recover at least some of the cash advances provided, particularly the food worth P37,000.

Nevertheless, Mr. Lubis, in the presence of the Barangay officials explained to the planter the existing laws on the hiring and recruitment of migratory sugarcane workers pursuant to Department Order 159-16 (DO 159-16). It was stressed that these regulations must be observed and obeyed accordingly otherwise she will face the consequences of the wrong doings.

On advice of the counsel, Ms. Chavez was persuaded to release the workers to the authorities upon explaining that it is unlawful to detain workers. However, it was told that she has the right to file appropriate case against the workers or the recruiter who gave false promises to the workers as to the mode of payment of their wages.

The Samar PDRRMO picked-up and facilitated the return of the workers to Hernani and Llorente, Eastern Samar. Seven of them went back to Valenzuela by public transportation with fare and food allowance provided by the Provincial Government.


Livelihood Development Specialist
DOLE-Batangas Provincial Office

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