BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer and sugar planters in southern Negros called for unity in the sugar industry under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Sugar planters supported opposing presidential candidates during the May 9 elections.
“Hope remains high for us in the sugar industry with no less than President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. heading the Department of Agriculture,” Ferrer, who led the BBM presidential campaign in Negros, said.
In turn, “it is best for the various stakeholders in the sugar industry to unite and stand behind our new president and DA secretary especially now where (sic) the industry is beset with major problems,” Ferrer added.
The same sentiment was echoed by Roberto Cuenca, president of the Asociacion de Agricultores De La Carlota Y Pontevedra Inc. (AALCPI) who congratulated Marcos Jr. as the 17th president of the country and thanked him for prioritizing the agriculture portfolio.
“We are so happy because President Marcos heeded our appeal to place the Sugar Regulatory Administration under his watch and as the new DA as well, the situation looks promising for the industry considering the major issues confronting us,” Cuenca said.
“We have yet to overcome the crisis that started with the pandemic which doubled production cost. Add to that the unabated rise in fuel and fertilizers and we are not seeing an immediate reprieve in the near future. These can cause the industry to collapse unless solutions are found,” he added.
David Alba, manager of AALCPI said unity is crucial and he is calling the stakeholders to rally behind the new administration.
Alba is also urging Sugar Regulatory Administration to amend Sugar Order No. 3, and open up the importation to all stakeholders in the sugar industry, and not just a select few such as industrial users.
“Any importation must always be measured against the interest of the majority of the consumers,” he said, adding that they are also urging the SRA to “allocate from the liens of this importation and its own Corporate Operating Budget for fertilizer subsidies for small sugarcane farmers.”
“At this point, we cannot afford to point fingers. We simply need to be united and work alongside one another,” Alba added.*