Pacete: Gov. Rhodora Cadiao: For the love of the sacadas

I AM an Antiqueño born in Silay City, Negros Occidental. That is fun and sounds funny. Before the break of World War II, my parents and grandparents were already here in Silay as “sacadas” from Antique.

My Lolo Pedro pioneered the cultivation of some big haciendas here in Silay… Hacienda Maquina, Hacienda Tinihaban, Hacienda Adela, and more.

The “sacadas” from Antique were very good farmers and they served as the backbone of Negros sugar haciendas. To date (in our techno age), there are still more than 10,000 sacadas from Antique in Negros Occidental.

One gloomy Thursday (Nov. 24), I was requested by Tina Golez, the acting city administrator to tour around Silay City very important (and special visitors). Mayor Mark Golez would still be meeting them at 10:30 a.m. When I arrived at the Mayor’s Office, I saw the lady governor of my home province Antique… the Honorable Rhodora Cadiao. She was accompanied by her staff.

After the sweet introduction, we had a tour of the Silay City Museum, Balay Negrense Museum, and the museum-like Silay City Council Heritage Building. The governor met Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego who accommodated the visitors in his beautiful quadrate office. Councilors Tom Ledesma and Demes Aplaon were there also to give their euphoric welcome to the visitors from Antique.

The meeting between Governor Cadiao and Mayor Golez was more cultural than political. The lady governor is in Negros to find out the socio-economic-health status of the “sacadas” from the Province of Antique who are working in Negros haciendas during the milling season. Some “sacadas” (transient workers) have become “dumaans” (permanent workers) after staying here for more than ten years.

Governor Cadiao got reports from the Department of Labor and Employment and her own Task Force Sacada that some “sacadas” here in Negros have been maltreated, have problems with their contractors, have financial hitches, and some are sick. The lady governor met also Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., other LGU executives, and the social welfare department heads who have contacts with the “sacadas”.

Mayor Golez has allowed me, Edgar Billiones and Mel Villavicenso (his representatives) to accompany the governor who would visit three groups of “sacadas” in a nearby Silay hacienda. The “sacadas” were expecting the historic visit of the governor. They prepared lunch in their “sacada kwartel”… rice, “dinuguan” and “laswa.” Before the boodle fight lunch with the governor, there was the sentimental sharing of messages in “karay-a” (the mother tongue in Antique).

The lady governor was so affectionate in her message, “We are proud of our sacadas because they provide a work force for the sugar industry of Negros. Take good care of your hard-earned money. Save them for the education of your children, brothers and sisters. Buy a cow or a pig when you go back home. Do not spend your money in gambling, or spend it overnight in your barrio fiesta. Be good “sacadas” here by showing unity and friendship. Make Antique proud of you!”

The governor was emphatic about her love for the “sacadas.” She even invited them to attend the Palarong Pambansa to be hosted by Antique in 2017. More speeches followed. Early Christmas packages were given. Boxes of medicines were also provided. PhilHealth cards were distributed. That is Governor Rhodora Cadiao of Antique. Her outreach program to the “sacadas” is a landmark of kindness and great concern for her people who are here in Negros.

May I mention the members of her staff: Lazaro Petinglay, Judy Malunda, James Rubino Jr., Gali Magbanua, Rene Oberio, Dr. Leoncio Abiera, SB Arnel Magluyan, Virgie Infante, Meridith Javier, Ma. Eleen Gilza, Mark Balga, Garry Zaldy Langa, Martial Muta, Pepe Gatila, Romel Bantilin, Dinmarc Mendoza, Dodge Mosquera, and Ynigo Xavier.

We are proud of you Governor Rhodora Cadiao. Antique should be proud of you. Antique is a potential province in tourism, agriculture, industry, sports, natural resources, food security, and human resources. More power!


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