• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Rep. Emilio “Dino” Yulo are hoping that the successor of David John Thaddeus Alba as head of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, will be another Negrense.
Stressing that Negros produces 60 percent of the sugar production of the country, Lacson said “I do hope that another Negrense will replace him,” although he will leave it to the discretion of the approval authority.
Agreeing with the statement of Gov. Lacson, Yulo, who previously served as SRA board member, said “I think it is right and proper that a Negrense be given the opportunity of leading the SRA.”
But Yulo said he will leave it to the discretion of appointing authority, “whoever he thinks best for the sugar industry,” apparently referring to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Alba has still until April 15 to hold his position, according to Malacañang, which approved his resignation, pending the announcement of his successor.
To dispel speculations and interpretations related to his resignation as SRA head, Alba has made it clear that his resignation stemmed from “purely health-related reasons.”
In a statement, Alba said it has been an honor for him to serve the sugar industry as acting SRA head. He however admitted that it has taken a negative toll on his health and family life.
I must regrettably resign as the Acting Administrator in order to preserve my health as well as make a full recovery, Alba said, as he thanked President Marcos Jr. for the opportunity to serve under his administration, and accepting his resignation due to health reasons.
Alba hopes that his successor will continue the gains and programs that SRA achieved for the sugar industry.
Lacson said he wished Alba well, as he hopes that the outgoing SRA chief will overcome “whatever health issue, he is facing.”
Lacson said that sugar farmers were very happy during his stint as head of the SRA.
During the term of Alba, Yulo also said “we had historical high mill gate prices of sugar during his watch,” and “I think he will be eternally remembered by all our sugar producers,” he added.
Mill gate prices reached as high as P3,600 per 50-kilo bag.
Yulo also called on the government to focus on productivity, noting that sugar importation has been a perennial problem in the past decade – when to import, how much to import, and its timing.
A decade ago, Yulo recalled “we produced 2.5 million metric tons of sugar – that is far more than the domestic consumption.”
If we go back to our productivity program, we will avoid that problem on policy, which is importation’ he stressed.*