Leaders ‘worried’ over continuing drop in sugar prices

SUGAR industry leaders have expressed concern as sugar prices continue to plunge.

Former Negros Occidental vice governor Emilio Yulo III, spokesperson of
Sugar Alliance of the Philippines, said the composite price of sugar right now is down to P1,200 to P1,250 per 50-kilo bag.

“We are very much worried as to what the industry will face in the coming crop year,” he said.

Yulo said small planters are saying they cannot afford inputs for the next crop year.

“With school enrollment ongoing, some can barely afford to send their children to school let alone put food on the table,” he added.

He urged fellow Negrenses to join the call in boycotting beverage firms using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as alternative sweetener in their products.

“We are appealing for sustained campaign against beverage companies using HFCS,” he said.

Sugar leaders said the unabated importation of HFCS had caused a massive drop in sugar prices, which is killing the industry.

Moreover, Yulo also called on the Negrense lawmakers to support the sugar industry in the coming congressional hearing on the effects of HFCS on May 16.

“We should not let up in our fight, we implore all to continue this battle,” he said.

On April 18, the Senate inquiry on the impact of the increasing importation of HFCS ended with senators urging sugar industry leaders and beverage firms to compromise so they can reach a solution acceptable to both parties.

‘Stupidity’

While many local government units in Negros Occidental have joined the campaign to boycott Coca-Cola products in their festivals, a local chief executive disagreed.

In a statement Thursday, Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña said he will not join the boycott as he thinks it is stupid.

“I want the governor and the sugar industry leaders to know especially the presidents of sugar federations that the municipalities of Pulupandan and Moises Padilla will not join the boycott of Coca-Cola for using HFCS as this is stupidity,” he said.

Peña is the former mayor of Pulupandan, whose incumbent mayor is his son, Miguel Peña.

“The presidents of the federations should put their acts together and sit down with the cola industry and discuss the problems amicably,” the Moises Padilla mayor said.

“You cannot oblige one industry to subsidize another industry, that’s stupidity,” he added.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. first banned the sale and sponsorship of Coke products in this year’s Panaad sa Negros Festival, which prompted other localities to follow. These included Hinigaran, Isabela, La Carlota City, Pontevedra and Barangay Talotog of Murcia town while E. B. Magalona planned to declare a Coke ban after its fiesta ended on May 1.

More than 40 restaurants and establishments in the province have also prohibited the sale of Coca-Cola products.

Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines executives said the firm is utilizing 100 percent local sugar in its bottling plant in Bacolod City.
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