Regulation of HFCS brings ‘parity’ in sugar industry

VICTORIAS CITY -- Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) chief Anna Rosario Paner said the regulation of the importation of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is seen as an advantage to the sugar farm workers.

“I heard about (their) concern…I think it should have a positive implication to the workers. The effect of the regulation of HFCS parang parity na rin,” Paner said in an interview with reporters at the Victorias Milling Company (VMC) Golf and Country Club here over the weekend.

Pro-labor groups earlier said that the sugar order issued by the SRA regulating the HFCS entry does not answer the concerns of the workers, only those of the industry leaders.

“It’s not necessarily that we are thinking one over the other. The intention of the (Sugar Board) is to make sure there is balance,” she added.

Gilda Caduya, president of Altertrade Philippines Inc., said, “It is only the issues and concerns of the industry leaders that are being addressed,” adding that the socio-economic condition of sugar workers in Negros Occidental has not changed.

“In this light, we are putting forth issues on two fronts: sugar workers wages and benefits resulting from the regulation of the HFCS entry vis-à-vis the liberalization of agricultural products on top of the alleged technical smuggling and the ill-effects on the health of consumers,” she added.

Wennie Sancho, lead convenor of Save-Sugar Industry Movement (Save-SIM), said the economic issue is that if the prices of sugar will go down, it will affect employment.

He added that the adverse effects on the health of the people were not emphasized in the sugar order. (NLG)
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