TATAK Kalamay, a movement composed of sugar industry stakeholders, have widened their area after getting support from the three major sugar associations in Negros Oriental during a consultative meeting on Friday, April 5, in Dumaguete City.
Leaders from the Negros Oriental Planters Associations (Nopa), Asociacion Agricola de Bais y Tanjay (AABT) and the United Sugar Planters Association of Negros Oriental (Uspano) along with members of unaffiliated sugar producers agreed that they will join Tatak Kalamay in their advocacy to deliver votes for their senatorial slate whom they consider as “champions and would-be-champions of the sugar industry.”
Raymond Montinola of Tatak Kalamay said the “overwhelming support” given by the stakeholders from Negros Oriental to the movement’s thrust shows “everyone in this industry agree that we need to stand united and ensure that we choose the voices who will represent and defend our concerns especially at the national arena.”
Earlier, Tatak Kalamay announced that they will support the re-election of incumbent Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar as “these are the candidates who have walked their talk, standing with us as we fended off challenges in the past.”
With the threat of liberalizing sugar importation, the need to band collectively was the main reason for the birth of the group, said Tonette Ramos of Tatak Kalamay who also said they included administration bets Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald De la Rosa in their senatorial slate.
More recently, another administration bet, Francis Tolentino became the eighth senatorial candidate Tatak Kalamay agreed to support after the former pledged to back up the industry if he gets elected in office, Ramos added.
Tatak Kalamay said the election is just one of their advocacies which have started to spread in all 28 sugar producing provinces.
“We come together, not to flex our muscles, not in a show of force, but to avail of that supreme remedy accorded by democracy, the electoral process, and throw our full support behind the senatorial candidates who have proven themselves to be champions of the sugar industry,” in a statement the group said.
Sugar industry leaders from Negros Oriental who attended the meeting were Nicolas Vicente, president of AABT; Mikel Tirso Teves of Nopa, Jose Ramon del Prado, Jose Juan Garcia, Ildefonso Hilado of Uspano NFSP, Mario Aldeguer and sugar leaders from Negros Occidental including Sugar Regulatory Administration Board Member representing the planters, Atty. Dino Yulo. (PR)