SUGAR Board Member Emilio Yulo III revealed on Sunday, February 2, that several local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental expressed their support for the sugar industry by passing resolutions opposing the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers to liberalize the sugar industry.
Among these LGUs that have already submitted their respective resolutions are the province of Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, Silay City, Talisay City, Himamaylan City, Binalbagan, Isabela, and La Castellana, he said.
Yulo said they also expect the same resolution from the Association of Chief Executives and the League of Municipalities and Cities in the province.
He said they will gather all the resolutions and position papers of the LGUs, groups, and organizations then submit it to the economic managers of the President and President Duterte.
Yulo explained that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno is serious about his proposal to abolish restrictions on imported sugar that will come into the country to address the problem on the high price of sugar.
This, after Diokno admitted that his announcement was based on the collegial decision and not his personal statement only.
“He is serious. The collegial body decided the liberalization, which means all economic planners are into this,” Yulo revealed.
That's why Yulo lamented that the unity of all the stakeholders of the sugar industry is important at this point to stop the plan.
“We should not allow that what happened to the province during the 80s would happen again due to the collapse of the sugar industry. The sugar industry just recovered from the adverse effect of high fructose corn syrup and here we are again, facing another challenge,” Yulo pointed out.
From the price of P1,600 per sack, the price of sugar dropped to the average of P120 per sack since Diokno announced the plan to liberalize the sugar industry.
The first to be affected are the small farmers that composed about 83 percent of the sugar producers in the province due to the agrarian reform program of the government.
Before any policy, which is detrimental to the concerned industry, is made, a consultative approach should be observed, Yulo stressed.