FORMER Senate president and senatorial candidate Juan Ponce Enrile is warning the government of the damaging effects of sugar liberalization, a proposal that is pushed by the financial managers of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Thousands of sugar farmers and workers will go hungry if the deregulation of sugar importation pushes through,” Enrile said.
“If I get back to the Senate, I will (take up the issue on) agricultural farmers who should be protected, as well as our consumers. I have discussed that with the sugar leaders here,” Enrile said in a press conference on Saturday, March 16.
Aside from loss of income for the sugar labor force and their families, Enrile also warned against economic loss.
“I assured the sugar leaders that I will help and oppose any inordinate importation of agricultural products especially rice and sugar,” Enrile emphasized.
Enrile clarified that though he supports measures that could reduce the cost of sugar for ordinary Filipinos, this must be balanced with a desire to protect the interest of the local farmers.
“We have to focus on long-term solutions rather than short-term steps. For the sugar industry, as with the rice industry, we must focus on investing in the capability of our local farmers. We need additional funds for research and development for better and higher productivity,” Enrile added. (TDE)