BACOLOD

NegOcc SP urged to oppose sugar liberalization move



NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has asked the Sanggunian Panlalawigan (SP) to pass a resolution opposing the proposed liberalization of the country's sugar industry.

"I'm sure the incumbent SP members will be ready to pass a resolution. The past SP has passed a resolution opposing the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup when it was the issue," Lacson said.

The governor said he will request Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer to lead the passage of the resolution.

“We all know that in Negros Occidental 85 percent of our sugar farmers are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs),” he pointed out.

The unabated importation of sugar will drastically affect the lives of these people, Lacson said.

"Just like what is happening in the sugar industry where the government is scrambling to help rice farmers because of the rice tarrification, I think we should learn from that," he added.

Lacson said that the provincial government is in support of the move of Tatak Kalamay.

Earlier, Tatak Kalamay urged President Rodrigo Duterte to listen to their concerns and to not allow the sugar import liberalization.

"The sugar industry is under siege again and we condemn, in the strongest term, what we perceived as a sell-off of the Philippine Agriculture in general," the group, in a press conference on Sunday, October 13, said.

The group also urged the local government units to show support by passing resolutions in their respective areas opposing the sugar import liberalization because of its detrimental effect to the sugar industry.

“Notwithstanding what has been happening to our rice industry, the crisis we have in the livestock and other agricultural sector, the economic managers have once again set their eyes on our industry with their proposed liberalization of sugar importation,” they said.

"We join them in calling out the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) for their deafening silence on this matter," Tatak Kalamay added.

Raymund Montinola, one of the convenors, slammed SRA administrator Hermingildo Serafica for his seeming silence.

Emilio Yulo, the sugar farmers’ representative to the sugar board, said the problems of the sugar industry is an economic matter that needs a political solution.

He said their group is ready to meet and present their concerns to Duterte.


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