• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Sugar Regulatory Administration will be getting a P1 billion budget for the implementation of the Sugar Industry Development Act (SIDA) program next year, disclosed acting SRA chief Pablo Azcona on July 28.
In a press briefing at the SRA office in Bacolod City, Azcona, however said he is hoping that it will be increased further.
The proposed P1 billion for next year is divided into the following allocations: P485M farm-to-mill roads, P15M bridge construction, P150M bloc farms program , P150M socialized credit program, P150M research, development, and P50M human resource development program.
As stipulated in the provisions of RA 10659, or Sugar Industry Development Act of 2015, the Department of Budget Management must allocate P2 billion annually for its programs.
Meanwhile, Azcona clarified that the SRA has no control over the price of sugar in the local market.
This comes after lawmakers complained why prices of sugar in the domestic market are still high despite the importation of sugar into the country.
Azcona explained that they don’t have control over retailers that sell the sugar in the markets and grocery stores.
“I told the President that the only ones who profit from the high market prices are the retailers,” he said, stressing that there is enough supply of sugar.
Azcona said that he is pushing for a P85 per kilo suggested retail price (SRP), so that farmers will not be affected.
He, however, clarified that the implementation of the SRP is with local government units.*