Marcos’s plans on looming sugar shortage: revamp SRA, import if needed

·2 min read
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr delivers a speech at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Philippines.
Philippine President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. speaks during a change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Philippines, August 8, 2022. He said that his administration is already taking steps to address the looming sugar shortage in the country. (Photo: Ezra Acayan/Pool via REUTERS)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in an interview with reporters at a vaccination event in Manila, said that his administration is already taking steps to address the looming sugar shortage in the Philippines.

Among the steps that they’re taking is the reorganization of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and, if the need arises, importing sugar to avert a shortage crisis.

The SRA is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture tasked to promote the domestic sugar industry’s welfare. Its former head, Hermenegildo Serafica, resigned after it approved the importation of 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar only six months after the importation of 200,000 MT of sugar for beverage makers.

Malacañang deems the importation “illegal” after it supposedly bypassed the president as the de facto agriculture chief and head of the SRA, with Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles saying that President Marcos rejected the importation as he did not approve of it and that he did not convene the SRA board to approve the importation.

“We’ll reorganize the SRA and then we will come to an arrangement with the industrial consumers, with the planters, the millers, suppliers of the sugar to coordinate para talaga kung ano yung mayroon, kung ano yung available, mailabas na sa merkado (so that we could release what’s available to the market),” Marcos said.

And if there’s a need to import, Marcos said: “Let’s import. We will be really forced.”

Ayaw na ayaw natin mag-import hangga’t maaari. Ngunit ang problema, hindi sapat yung production natin. At kung minsan yung presyo pati ay napakataas. Kaya kailangan natin,” he added.

(As much as possible, we don’t want to import [sugar]. But the problem is that production is not enough. And at times, prices are very high. So we need to import.)

The controversial Sugar Order No. 4 laid out that the raw sugar inventory will have less than 35,231 metric tons by the end of August, and it also indicated that the 300,000 sugar imports will go to industrial users, while the rest will be given to producers and traders.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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