NEGROS Occidental Governor Isidro Zayco urged the planters associations Monday to "heed" the sugar workers plight on wage increase and other benefits, "especially now that the sugar industry is doing well."

"They (planters and associations) should not forget that the source of every success of the industry is through every drop of sweat that each of the hardworking sugar workers labored," said Zayco.

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The governor appealed to the planters' group and those land owners to "at least improve the farmers' benefits," which he said "will alleviate hunger and discomforts among sugar workers and their families."

He noted that with the sugar industry in its overflowing state, he expects that Negros, especially the sugar workers, will have better and brighter prospects for the year 2010.

"I only hope that in its present stable state, sugar prices will also stabilize," said Zayco. Due to the province's boon in rice production, which is as good as food security ranked from 11th, Negros Occidental now ranks 9th as the country's local government unit (LGU) with a remarkable rice production.

"Better for the province to have buffer stock, in the advent of rice shortage," which Zayco also opined could happened due to the recent typhoon attacks in the country.

Further, Zayco said it is also for the province to take advantage of the windfall by improving social economy.

Meanwhile, an additional of P15,000 bonus will be given to each employee before January ends, which according to Zayco is "for the laudable efforts the employees have contributed in the success of the province being a regional awardee as excellent province of Western Visayas."

The bonus will at least benefit 2,500 capitol employees, which will be sourced from the 5 percent calamity fund worth P70 million. Of the fund, the remaining will be used for funding social projects of the LGUs, said Zayco.

Already for two consecutive years, the province has been awarded as the "Excellent Province" in Western Visayas by the Department of Interior and Local Government, among other awards in government-related functions.

With barely six months left, Zayco said since he already filed as a candidate for mayor in Kabankalan City, he has only two months left to accomplish his projects for the province and his constituents. He also said he would focus on the scholarship program, health, and social services. (GMD)