Sugar imports here by November

·2 min read
Sacks of sugar being stacked in a warehouse. (Photo: Getty Images)
Sacks of sugar being stacked in a warehouse. (Photo: Getty Images)

The 150,000 metric tons (MT) sugar imports now approved by President and Agriculture Secretary Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is expected to arrive in November, as indicated in Sugar Order (SO) No. 2 signed on September 1.

"Registered international sugar traders participating in this import program shall ensure their respective allocated volumes shall arrive in the Philippines not later than November 15, 2022,” SO No. 2 reads.

It added, “As such, each participant shall be given one month from November 15, 2022 to completely distribute their allocation to respective clients for industrial use and/or direct consumption and submit to SRA within 30 calendar days thereafter written proof of compliance to the said actual distribution.”

Out of the 150,000 MT sugar being imported, half will go to the industry while the other half will be sold in the retail market.

150,000 MT is half the amount of what was originally ordered by former Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, who resigned over a controversial order wherein he supposedly signed on Marcos Jr.’s behalf as DA secretary.

On August 15, farmer group Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said that they were against the importation of sugar, especially since the milling season begins in September.

“If the government of BBM pushes through with the importation of sugar by October this year, it would be no different to the importation of rice also during the harvest season that lowers the farm gate prices of rice farmers and only traders would benefit for both crops,” UMA spokesperson Butch Lozande said.

Amid the sugar fiasco, Senators Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Risa Hontiveros has contested the findings of the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) which absolved Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez over the controversial importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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