BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A Writ of Preliminary Injunction has been issued by Sagay Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Reginald Fuentebella that enjoins the Sugar Regulatory Administration to cease and desist from implementing Sugar Order Number 3, and to maintain a status quo to be effective until the termination of the case, unless earlier lifted.
Judge Fuentebella, in his six-page decision, said that the “plaintiff has shown to the satisfaction of this Court that they are entitled to the relief demanded, to prevent the implementation of Sugar Order No. 3, series of 2021-2022 before they are accorded the opportunity to be heard during the trial on the merits to prevent grave and irreparable damage on the plaintiff.”
SO3 allows the importation of 200,000 metric tons of sugar by SRA, which is vehemently opposed by the different sugar planters’ groups.
The sugar importation was temporarily held in abeyance by the SRA due to the issuance of a temporary restraining order by the Sagay RTC.
Fuentebella said that the Writ of Preliminary Injunction shall be effective during the pendency of the case, or until further orders from this Court.
The United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) yesterday welcomed the issuance of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction against sugar importation for industrial users.
UNIFED President Manuel Lamata said this is a “victory” on their part, and thanked the courts for seeing their side of the argument.
“This decision just affirms that the industry was right and SRA was wrong,” Lamata added.
UNIFED Director Joseph Edgar Sarrosa, who filed the case against SRA, in behalf of the Rural Sugar Planters Association Inc, also welcomed the court’s decision and thanked those who supported their cause.
The Rural Sugar Planters Association, Inc is a member association of UNIFED.
“We are not against importation per se but we have been pushing for proper consultation and a calibrated importation program which is beneficial to all and not just for a particular sector,” Sarrosa said.
UNIFED made a strong stand against the sugar order because it lacked consultation and was “ill-timed,” he stressed.
News of the SO 3 also led to a huge drop of sugar prices, prompting the sugar group to file a temporary restraining order against it
Senate Majority Floor leader Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier filed a resolution directing the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the SRA order to allow sugar importation.*