President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has rejected the proposal of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to import 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar despite the current local supply deficit, Malacañang said Wednesday.
“The President rejected the proposal to import an additional 300,000 MT of sugar,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a press statement.
Marcos, concurrent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, is also the chairperson of the Sugar Regulatory Board.
Cruz-Angeles issued the statement following reports that Marcos supposedly approved the proposal.
“He (Marcos) is the chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board and denied this in no uncertain terms,” she added.
Retail prices of sugar are currently beyond PHP100 per kilogram in wet markets and grocery stores.
Traditionally, the retail prices of sugar are only PHP50 per kilo.
Last month, Marcos acknowledged that the Philippines has not been producing sufficient palay (rice), corn, livestock, and fish.
He, however, said he wants the government to cut down food imports to the barest minimum.
He said importation will be done not as a price stabilization measure, but as “a strategic food supply measure.
The Philippine sugar industry is like a forgotten industry under the Department of Agriculture because not only that sugar prices skyrocketing, but sugar workers especially in Negros, are also suffering from underpayment.
Farmers including sugar workers hope the new President could do something to ease the poverty level in sugar-producing provinces by forcing big planters to follow the minimum wage imposed by the government. /PNA/