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UNIFED hopes for ‘favorable’ ruling vs. SO3

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) is hopeful that the courts will see the merit of their argument to issue a permanent Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Sugar Order No. 3 issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration.

UNIFED President Manuel Lamata said they have been informed that the courts will issue the decision by March 4 as their TRO will expire on March 6.

“We are hoping for a favorable ruling for another extension of the TRO or make it permanent,” Lamata said.

UNIFED and several other sugar federations are up against the importation of 200,000 metric tons of sugar, as contained in SO3.

The importation of 200,000 metric tons of sugar was temporarily held in abeyance until further notice due to the issuance of a temporary restraining order by a regional trial court in Negros Occidental, Sugar Regulatory Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica announced earlier.

UNIFED Director Joseph Edgar Sarrosa, who filed the case as President of the Rural Sugar Planters Association, Inc., a member association of UNIFED said “we had a productive discussion and we remain positive about this entire exercise.”

Lamata on the other hand said that if they will not get another stay of the TRO, they will file another motion on the date that it expires.

Sarrosa also said that they are closely following the proceedings of similar cases filed by other groups against SO3.

Senate Majority Floor leader Juan Miguel Zubiri sponsored 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.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental also passed a resolution expressing its vehement opposition to the sugar importation at the height of milling season.*

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