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Sugar groups welcome importation veto

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota y Pontevedra Inc. (AALCPI), the La Carlota Mill District Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LCMDMPC) and the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) welcomed the scrapping of Sugar Order No. 4 that sought to initially import 300,000 metric tons of sugar.

“With the start of the milling season, the need to import additional sugar is ill advised,” AACLPI and LCMDMPC General Manager David Alba said.

“We are thankful that President Marcos vetoed the order as five mills in Negros Occidental already resumed operations,” Alba added in a statement.

He added that data from the Sugar Regulatory Administration shows that 4 million bags of sugar entered the country through the SO 3 import program.

“However, this sugar is not being made available to the Juan De La Cruz since they are in the bodegas of the industrial users, the sector that is obviously given preferential treatment by SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica,” Alba said.

Thus, in order to address the perceived sugar supply shortage in the country, we are recommending to President Marcos to reverse the SRA order and instead release this sugar for the benefit of the consumers and retailers, he added.

In a separate statement, United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) President Manuel Lamata also thanked the President for revoking SO 4 and joined the call issued by Senator Imee Marcos to “revamp” the Department of Agriculture and the SRA amidst the investigation into the alleged illegality of the recent sugar order.

“We are joining the call of Sen. Marcos because it is very apparent already that these officials are not looking out for the interest of the industry,” Lamata said.

The fact that SO 4 included the importation of raw sugar when milling season has already started “indicates these people governing the very agency that is supposed to protect us, are actually out to destroy us,” Lamata added.

UNIFED is the biggest sugar federation in the country while AALCPI is the biggest independent sugar association with a membership of 11,000 sugar farmers.*

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