Agri group: No order from PBBM to import sugar

Published August 15, 2022, 5:50 PM

by Jel Santos

There was no order either from President and Agriculture Secretary Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. or his Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said on Monday, August 15.

Sugarcane farmers (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Rosendo So, the chairman of SINAG, said Marcos and Rodriguez did not give any approval to import sugar as local producers have started milling their own products.

“During our meeting, there was no final agreement on the need to import sugar as the SRA has yet to hold consultations with other stakeholders such as the producers, retailers, distributors, and repackers,” he said in a statement.

So said the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) was specifically ordered to conduct consultations to determine if there is an actual supply shortfall that would merit importation.

“The instruction of the ES and the President’s office is to determine carefully why the price of sugar suddenly increase. So the SRA should have talked first with local producers to determine why there is sudden surge in the domestic prices of sugar,” the SINAG chairman said.

“The Department of Agriculture and the SRA are claiming that there is a shortfall of only 100,000 metric tons of sugar. But why did they approve the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar?” he added.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles recently called illegal the Sugar Regulatory Board (SRB) Resolution No. 4, which authorized the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar on top of what had already been imported in May 2022.

Malacañang is currently investigating the unauthorized signing of the order allowing the importation of sugar, according to Angeles.

In his vlog, Marcos recently said that the country may import 150,000 metric tons of sugar by October should the supply run out.