JONATHAN Danao, who identified himself as one of the more than 50,000 marginal sugar farmers, sent his reaction on the February 12 issue of this column on sugar importation.

Jonathan said: “I find your article published in the Sun.Star February 12, 2010 [Reaction to "Think of the sugar farmers, too"] very informative, comprehensive, brief and concise in presenting your thoughts regarding the plan of the government to import sugar.

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Through your column, let us rally all the stakeholders in the sugar industry to vehemently oppose the importation of sugar. Let your column "Cane Points" be the bastion of a crusade against sugar importation.

I would like to suggest that the stakeholders in the sugar industry -.the ordinary farm workers, marginal sugar farmers, landed sugar planters, sugar coops, traders, millers and including the consumers - to unite and be organized to show force.

Scheduling a nationwide rally to voice out our disapproval to this plan will be a good idea.

All stakeholders should assert their rights to protect their interest.

Failure to do this may one day awaken the dormant volcano of social unrest in sugar-producing provinces, particularly here in Negros.”

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Thanks for your email, Jonathan. Actually, what I published was the reaction of Jose Mari Miranda, president of the Cebu-based Bogo-Medellin Planters Assn, and Atty. Iñaki Larrazabal Jr., president of the Ormoc Sugarcane Planters Assn in Ormoc City, to the column of Boo Chanco published in the February 10 issue of The Philippine Star.

Chanco frowned on the government’s penchant to impose price ceilings or threaten importation whenever domestic prices of agricultural products become favorable to producers. Miranda and Larrazabal supported the views of Chanco and provided valuable inputs of their own to buttress the stand against importation.

Last Monday, Boo Chanco included Miranda and Larrazabal’s reaction in his column “Demand and Supply”, thereby providing the producers with a nationwide platform on which they can express their sentiments against importation.

At any rate, I fully subscribe to the stand of Chanco, Miranda and Larrazabal on the issue of sugar importation. As Jonathan Danao suggested, all sugar industry stakeholders should band together and make their collective voice heard. What say you?

Stakeholders who share Jonathan’s stance can contact Cane Points. I will forward your contact details to him so that you can get in touch and mobilize.

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Lately, the country has been hit with power supply reliability problems. The Visayas grid is no exception. Negros has had its intermittent load-shedding during peak hours but Cebu, which accounts for half the power demand of the Visayas grid, bore the brunt of the power deficit which resulted to rotating brown-outs in that highly-industrialized island.

The onset of El Niño will definitely not provide any respite to the power supply problem. My California-based Negrense friend, Maning Diaz, expressed his thoughts on the subject. He emailed: “Read in the papers that there will be a 126MW deficiency in the Visayas power grid.

As I have said before there is a 120MW power available in Bulata power plant owned by Mr. Teddy Bernardino. The only problem is that, Mr. Bernardino will not give anybody any kickbacks (just to get the power plant operational).

That explains why other people want to build a 100MW highly polluting coal-fired power plant in Pulupandan at a cost of US$300 million. Imagine the kickbacks from this gargantuan-priced power plant.

There is sufficient power available in Negros. The only problem is that there is no kick back available in these projects.”

In another email, Maning disclosed: “The plant in Bulata was running when it was shut down. In fact, it was supplying electricity to the City of Sipalay.

As usual, Napocor was not able to pay Maricalum (the power producer) so Napocor’s liability to Maricalum was swapped with PICOP'S liability with Napocor in Mindanao.

The Bulata power plant can be energized in less than six months at a fraction of the cost of the coal-fired power plant. By the way, the Bulata power plant will not have the coal ash problem inherent in a coal fired power plant since Bulata power plant is bunker oil fired.”

Can we hear the thoughts of our local and national officials on the Bulata power plant?

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Reynald Sumagaysay emailed his appreciation of the column I wrote on Don Bosco. Reynald is a fellow Victoriahanon, a member of DB Batch 82 who now works as Import/Export – Logistics and Assembly Manager of Isuzu in Japan. He informed me that he sent the article to the yahoo group of his batch. He also asked his younger brother Pete (DB Batch 84) to send the same to the yahoo group of Batch 84.

Salamat gid, pre! I hope that other Bosconians will also contribute to the on-going programs of our alma mater, particularly the financial support for Salesian seminarians. For those who wish to contribute, please forward your contact details to me so I can get you directly in touch with Fr. Brodie Segovia, the present Rector of Don Bosco-Victorias.

(For reactions and suggestions, email bbacaoco@yahoo.com.)