NPA sanctions big comprador-landlord; 2 trucks of Tim Ballesteros burned down
The people of Negros, especially the sugar workers of northern Negros, celebrated the military action of Roselyn Jean Pelle Command – Northern Negros Guerilla Front of the New People’s Army (RJPC-NPA) against Teotimo “Tim” Ballesteros for failure of giving just wages, landgrabbing, using armed goons for threat and intimidation, among others.
The sanction, witnessed by almost a hundred sugar workers, was implemented by RJPC-NPA on December 14, around 9:30am in Sitio Proper, Barangay Tabun-ac, Toboso, Negros Occidental, paralyzing two (2) trucks used to transport cut sugarcane from field to milling factory. Residents of Barangay Tabun-ac are mostly Ballesteros’ workers.
Ballesteros, one of the largest big comprador-landlord in northern Negros, face numerous complaints of unjust wages and several complaints of land grabbing thru ariendo-palit scheme on which farm owners victims were made to sign papers of selling their land guised as agreements to the ariendo. A large chunk of his profit, from blood, sweat and tears of sugar workers, is used to fund the PMG detachment and its fascist elements stationed near his transloading station in Barangay Mabini, Escalante City. He also hires private goons, especially when conflicts between him and the farmworkers or farmer beneficiaries arise.
Since 2019, farm workers’ wage is increased only by Php10 per day. Daily wage of weeding is pegged at PhP 125. Plowing of fields by use of carabao is paid either Php1,000 per hectare or Php200 per day. Cane top cutting (pamatdan) is paid Php70 per thousand while planting of cane top is at P120 per thousand. The heavy workload of tapas-karga (cutting and loading) of sugaracane is at Php300 per ton. Admin workers are paid Php1,200 per week for enkargado and Php1,000 per week for ronda and kabo. The only time that Ballesteros’ sugarworkers received bonus is every December, in which, lately, when workers claimed their bonus, only received amount ranging from Php54 to Php2,700. No worker can explain what type of bonus they received, whether it is 13th month bonus or the Social Amelioration Bonus for sugar workers.
Wages received by farmworkers is far from Negros Occidental minimum wage for agricultural workers at Php410 per day and even far from living wage of P1,119 per day.
On the other hand, Ballesteros pockets not less than Php100,000 per hectare of clean profit from hard work of an estimated of around 5,000 farm workers in his 2,000 hectares of controlled land in northern Negros, either as direct owner, financer or ariendo. He also owns transloading stations, trucking services, among other legal businesses.
RJPC-NPA is not interested in subjecting Ballesteros’ business operation to collection of revolutionary tax due to complaints of labor issues and land disputes and his counter-revolutionary nature.
The action is a call for sugar workers to fight back against exploitation and for residents to fight back against militarization and rights abuses. The NPA is with you in your fight against exploitation and oppression.
BGen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commanding officer of 303rd IBde, claims falsely that Negrosanons do not support the NPA and that the NPA is now “on the run” due to heavy militarization. The sanction itself is a slap on Pasaporte’s face, where the NPA successfully mounted the military action on a broad day light in less than 100 meters from a cemented barangay road. The NPA implementing unit even conducted a mass meeting of sugar workers at the site to explain the current objective situation.
One sugar worker reacted to the incident and said, “Mas maayo nang ingon ana, para mabatian ang singgitan namo sa sweldo-benepisyo.” (It is better that it’s like that, for them to listen to our call of wage and benefits).
While NPA unit was in transit to the site, residents guarded the route while others were voicing out interest to join the implementation, jokingly saying “talagsa ra mi makakita ninyu, dili pamo magpakuyog” (It’s not every day that we see you, and you don’t even allow us to go). Knowing Ballesteros and the possible reactions, the said NPA unit kindly turned them down.
The successful sanction of NPA against Ballesteros is possible with the never-ending support of the masses and is, likewise, celebrated by residents and the sugar workers.
Makibaka, Huwag Matakot!