A SENATOR has called on sugar industry stakeholders to "go out and vote for our champions and would-be allies in the Senate" during the midterm elections on May 13.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, in a press statement Sunday, May 5, said this is to ensure that he will not be alone in addressing the challenges hounding the industry.
Zubiri said he is making a last minute appeal especially for his colleagues in the Senate who are seeking reelection and who stood up "to oppose the planned liberalization of sugar importation."
Zubiri, along with nine other senators namely Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Loren Legarda, Koko Pimentel, Joel Villanueva and Cynthia Villar earlier endorsed and adopted Senate Resolution No. 1014 opposing the proposed sugar import liberalization plan.
"These are our sugar champions who have helped us when we were facing the High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and the sugar-sweetened beverage tax battles," Zubiri said.
He added that "this is the perfect time to collectively show our force and send a message that the industry is united and we will not be cowed by any further threats because we have allies in both Houses of Congress."
The senator expressed hope that people can put their differences aside and think of the future of the sugar industry.
Millions of farmers, producers, agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), sugar and mill workers and other stakeholders are dependent on the industry, he pointed out.
Also, Zubiri lauded the efforts of the Tatak Kalamay Movement, which is making waves not only in Negros Island but also in other sugar-producing areas.
Tatak Kalamay is endorsing the reelection bids of Angara, Binay, Ejercito, Pimentel and Villar along with administration candidates Bong Go, Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino.
"I cannot be your champion alone," he said. "I need the help of my colleagues as they've helped us in the past, and we also need the help of the other candidates who promised to become industry champions too." (Erwin P. Nicavera)