BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Confederation of Sugarcane Planters’ Associations yesterday expressed its solidarity with the VICMICO Planters’ Association, after the Victorias Milling Company terminated its relationship with it.
CONFED president Raymond Montinola, in a statement, said, “It is inconceivable that a sugar mill would take such drastic action against a long-time partner, representing 1,433 members producing 450,000 net tons of cane per year, without seeking every means possible to resolve the issues raised by the Association and their members. The relationship with VICMICO Planters’ Association spanned several decades and hurdled many trials along the way.”
For the sake of all concerned, Montinola said they are hoping that both parties will find a way to renew their partnership before any permanent damage is done.
A mutually-beneficial relationship between a sugar mill and the sugarcane producers, represented and serviced by their Association, is of utmost importance, especially during these challenging times, he said.
“A parting of ways cannot be the best recourse under any circumstance,” he added.
CONFED said it commits to extend any and all possible means to assist and support the planters’ group, for however long it takes.
“We also ask all the member-planters to stand by your Association, just as firmly as they have strived to protect your interest at all times,” the statement added.
CONFED also urged VMC to treat VICMICO Planters’ Association not as an enemy to be “terminated”, but as a partner to be valued.
In truth, VMC’s action sends a signal to other associations that question sugar mill policies or practices, complain about a sugar mill’s performance, or seek better terms, it added.
As rightly pointed out by the VICMICO Planters’ Association, they exist to serve the interest of their members. They can do nothing less, and we stand with them 100 percent, CONFED said.*