Over 13,000 lose livelihoods after Nasugbu sugar mill shutdown; Romualdez leads aid distribution
MANILA, Philippines–The shutdown of Central Azucarera de Don Pedro, Inc. (CADPI), the largest sugar mill in the Calabarzon Region, has led to over 13,000 farmers and farm workers losing their livelihoods.
House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday coordinated an aid distribution effort for some 800 displaced sugar farmers of CADPI.
“Nang makausap ko ang mga magsasakang naapektuhan ng pagsasara ng sugar mill sa Speaker’s Office, nalungkot ako sa dala nilang balita. Alam ko ang epekto ng pagsasara ng sugar mill. Kagutuman at kalituhan ang tiyak na resulta nito,” Romualdez said in his brief message during the aid distribution held in Balayan.
The closure of CADPI, located in Nasugbu, Batangas, has had considerable repercussions for local communities. The shutdown of operations has resulted in the loss of 12,000 regular jobs for farm workers, endangered the farms of over 8,772 farmers, and left 125 mill workers displaced.
Romualdez, acting on a plea from the Sugar Folks Unity for Genuine Agricultural Reform and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, collaborated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to secure P10,000 worth of aid for each affected sugar farmer through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.
“Today, as we distribute these much-needed resources, we are not just providing financial support; we are also offering a glimmer of hope, a symbol of solidarity, and a reminder that no one is alone in their struggles. It is my firm belief that by working together and supporting one another, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way,” he said.
He highlighted the collaborative efforts of several entities, including the Sugar Folks Unity for Genuine Agricultural Reform, Gabriela Representative Brosas, and the House Speaker’s Office.
“Your unwavering dedication and commitment to the welfare of our constituents are truly commendable,” Speaker Romualdez said.
During the AICS payout, Romualdez was also joined by TGP Party List Rep. Jose “Bong” Teves, Jr., Kabataan Party List Rep. Raoul Manuel, and former ACT Teachers Party List Rep. Antonio Tinio.
The Speaker also commended other officials’ contributions towards helping those affected by the sugar mill closure, including House Committee on Appropriations Chairperson Zaldy Co, Gabriela Rep. Brosas, Batangas 1st District Rep. Eric R. Buhain and his wife Eileen Ermita-Buhain, and Balayan Municipal officials led by Mayor Emmanuel Salvador P. Fronda II.
The DSWD officials reported that similar payouts would continue in the coming days to provide further assistance to those impacted by the sugar mill closure.