Stakeholders welcome move vs relaxing sugar import policy

Filipino customers buy rice and sugar at a local market in Metro Manila. ALAMY

BACOLOD City – Industry stakeholders in Negros Occidental welcomed a Senate resolution that urged the executive department not to pursue its plan to liberalize the country’s sugar importation policy.

The Senate recently approved Resolution No. 1014 to “safeguard the economy and welfare of sugar farmers and industry workers in 28 provinces in the country.”

“We welcome this development and we are happy that we still have friends in the right places who understand the workings of the sugar industry,” said Raymond Montinola, spokesman of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations.

The senators understand that pursuing the proposed deregulation of the import policy will “lead to the demise of the sugar industry,” added Montinola.

Montinola also noted that the Senate has supported the sugar industry in trying times like the entry of high-fructose corn syrup in the Philippines.

“But we are not letting our guards down. We will continue to be vigilant and seek the intervention of our President to ensure that the plans of the economic managers will never be implemented,” he said.

Dino Yulo, a member of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Board, also expressed gratitude to the senators for passing the resolution.

“This just shows they understand the plight of the sugar industry and its stakeholders,” he said.

But Yulo added that the “battle is far from over.”

“Like our senators, the economic managers should also visit the fields so they can empathize with our small farmers,” the SRA board member stressed.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers proposed the deregulation of sugar imports to cushion high prices of local products./PN


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