The House Committee on Agriculture and Food will tackle a resolution that opposes the planned sugar liberalization, in a public hearing tomorrow, Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of the Save the Sugar Industry Movement, said.
Sancho said his group was invited by the committee to attend the inquiry on House Resolution No. 412 that “expresses strong opposition to the planned liberalization or deregulation of sugar importation for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare of farmers and farm and mill workers across the country”.
It was introduced by 21 congressmen, including the seven solons from Negros Occidental: Francisco Benitez (3rd District), Juliet Ferrer (4th District), Leo Rafael Cueva (2nd District), Gerardo Valmayor Jr. (1st District), Genaro Alvarez Jr. (6th District), Ma. Lourdes Arroyo-Lesaca (5th District), and Stephen Paduano (Abang-Lingkod party-list).
The resolution was received in the House on October 2.
Sancho said he has prepared a position paper for the workers to be submitted at the hearing.
He said, “In times of social and economic crisis, we cannot be silent. We cannot sit and wait for this juggernaut called sugar import liberalization to crush the sugar industry.”
Should the proposed sugar import liberalization push through, thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries, small farmers and sugar workers will be affected, he said.
“We have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It is our moral duty to protest what is not acceptable. We cannot take in conscience what appears to be the imminent death of the sugar industry,” he added.*
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