BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer is hoping that the scarcity of sugar supply will be addressed with the reopening of sugar mills ahead of the usual milling season schedule.
Ferrer thanked the sugar mills for responding to his call for early reopening, amid rumors of a perceived sugar shortage in the country.
Sugar producers, however, maintained that the supply of sugar is ample and blamed prevailing high prices on “manipulation and hoarding.”
The average retail price of refined sugar in wet markets was P87.50 per kilo on July 8, according to a report by the Department of Agriculture (DA). The price was as high as P90 in some markets.
In a statement David Alba, general manager of the Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota y Pontevedra (AALCPI), disclosed that the Victorias Milling Company (VMC), Universal Robina Corp. (URC) La Carlota, and the Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Company (Biscom) are all willing to reopen and mill early once raw sugar is available.
Ferrer also said the First Farmers Holding Corporation (FFHC), Hawaiian Philippines Company (HPCo) and Sagay Sugar Central have also announced early reopenings.
“With this, we hope we have contributed to resolving the supply issue and in turn, we will also be seeing growth in our local economy,” Ferrer said.
He added that the early start of the milling season is also going to be “beneficial” to the sugar farmers, as it coincides with the reopening of the school year and “they have one less problem with additional expenses especially since some schools are now going to conduct face-to-face classes.”
With the start of milling season, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson also reminded motorists of safe driving, as he revealed moves to review the safety measures imposed by a task force during milling season.*