BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The clamor for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president in the 2022 elections is getting stronger in Negros Occidental, the fourth among vote-rich provinces in the country, with the United Sugar Producers’ Federation of the Philippines also joining the call.
In a manifesto of support signed by president Manuel Lamata and 11 heads of various sugar associations, Unifed, that is among the biggest sugar groups in the country, said they believe that Duterte-Carpio “possesses the qualities that a leader must have to unify the country, especially in these challenging times, and at the same time, continue and improve on the gains we’ve made as a nation.”
Unifed said they see the Davao chief executive as the candidate who will support the interest of the sugar industry.
“We strongly believe that among the presidentiables, Mayor Sara is the candidate who will have the interest of the sugar industry at heart as her father, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had, by supporting and enabling the agriculture sector in achieving food self-sufficiency,” the statement said.
Several mayors of Negros Occidental already aired their support for Duterte-Carpio in a series of meetings with the Alliance and Broadcasting Committee–Padayona Inday Sara movement, with retired P/Col. William Señoron as convenor.
Lamata said the sugar industry “continues to be one of the major drivers of our country’s growth by contributing over P95 billion to our nation’s coffers. Yet, we get very little appreciation and support from economic managers that view the agricultural sector’s contribution lightly.”
He added that the threat of sugar liberalization, sugar smuggling, and lack of support for the industry’s modernization efforts are just among the problems that still beset the industry, adding that these were the considerations why they chose Duterte-Carpio from among the list of possible candidates for the presidential post.
Lamata recalled that it was in Davao that President Duterte empowered the industry to wage a battle against the High Fructose Corn Sugar. “And it will be in Davao again that we will get that assurance for continued support.”
While she may be her father’s daughter, Mayor Sara has never abused this privilege and has, in fact, shown independence in her decision-making even when it is contrary to that made by the present leadership.
“We are also convinced that she is the best candidate to further improve our foreign relations,” Unifed added.*