Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday, March 22 said the Marcos administration should confiscate the smuggled sugar stocks illegally imported into the country by three “favored” importers and sell these at affordable prices to ensure there is sufficient sugar supply in the country.
Hontiveros made the suggestion after the Department of Agriculture (DA) bared plans to start selling confiscated smuggled sugar at Kadiwa Centers by April this year.
This was after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. approved the sale of seized smuggled sugar at P70 per kilo at Kadiwa centers.
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said a total of 12,000 metric tons (MT) of the commodity is ready for roll-out at Kadiwa stores.
“They are too excited about the 12,000 metric tons confiscated in Subic and Batangas.
The Philippine’s annual consumption of sugar is at 2.2 million metric tons. If the sugar to be sold at Kadiwa stores are meant to be consumed by the poorest 30 percent of the population, then we need at least 300,000 metric tons of sugar to ensure that the supplies for sale will not just be for publicity purposes,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“If the administration is really serious about ensuring ample supply of affordable sugar in the country, then it should start with immediately confiscating the sugar stocks illegally imported into the country by the three ‘favored’ importers - All Asian Countertrade, Edison Lee Marketing, and Sucden Philippines,” the senator said.
Hontiveros also said that if the government is committed to selling the smuggled sugar supplies, these should be sold at regular profit rates of P61 per kilo, and not P70.
“The stocks are already smuggled, and yet these are to be sold at jacked up profits? Somebody is really intent on profiting from this situation,” she noted.
The lawmaker also said the government should immediately blacklist these erring importers, so that the government will not be repeatedly forced to deal with the disposal of their illegal supplies.
Hontiveros has earlier filed a resolution asking the Senate blue ribbon committee to investigate the anomalous huge importation from the three sugar traders ahead of the release of Sugar Order No. 7.
She also questioned the presence of the three sugar importers together with the President and Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban in Malacañang.