BACOLOD CITY -- Negros Occidental is home to the vast sugar plantations owned and controlled by the biggest landlords in the country.
Over the years, despite government's succeeding agrarian reform programs, the sugar plantations remain untouched. Agricultural workers receive slave wages gor backbreaking labor. Hunger clutches the homes of poor families especially during tiempo muerto (dead season). Most of the workers take on odd jobs in order to survive.
This situation is the very reason why Negros continues to be a social volcano. Misery breeds resistance. Throughout the region, more and more workers have joined organizations to push for their rights and welfare. They have no other choice but to fight.
Farm laborers load sugarcane harvested at a hacienda in Bacolod City onto a truck for hauling to a mill.
A farmhand arrives with a carabao-drawn cart to help haul newly harvested sugarcane in a Bacolod City hacienda, which will be loaded onto a truck and delivered to a mill. #mornings #workingclassheroes #feudalism
Carabao pull carts laden with newly cut sugarcane across a field toward a truck that will deliver the harvest to the mill.
01. Farm laborers stand off to the sides of a cane truck as another climbs the gangplank with a new load as they harvest a field in a Bacolod City hacienda. #workingclassheroes #feudalism #poverty #socialvolcano #everydayphilippines
A boy helps his family sort cane toppings for planting
Two boys dash across a highway on their way home from school to the hacienda where they live with their sugarcane field laborer parents.
A boy shoots hoops on the dirt court of a hacienda community.
A sugarcane farm laborer speaks with her daughter during a break from harvesting sugarcane. It is rare to see a woman engaged in the backbreaking work of the harvest.
A farm laborer leads his carabao past rows of sugarcane in a hacienda in Bacolod City at daybreak
Based in Bacolod City, Nonoy Espina is the chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. Being a journalist since Martial Law years, Espina has witnessed and chronicled the decades-long social injustice in the region.