THE Bacolod City Council approved a resolution expressing a strong opposition to the planned liberalization or deregulation of the importation of sugar to safeguard the local sugar industry, its adverse effect to the City of Bacolod, as the capital of Negros Occidental, where most of the economic activity of the sugar industry are done.
The resolution, authored by Councilor Al Victor Espino, was approved during the regular session of the City Council on Tuesday.
Espino said Negros Occidental, Bacolod City as its capital, is considered the Philippines’ sugar capital, producing about 60 percent of the country’s sugar output.
He said notably Bacolod City is the center of economic activity of the neighboring cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental, where most of the economic trade activities are done, more particularly that of the sugar industry.
“ The liberalization on the importation of sugar would be the demise of the local sugar industry considering that it is the life-blood of Negros Occidental, resultant thereto the economic growth of Bacolod City would be greatly affected, where a decrease in the economic activity would be felt thereby affecting the revenue of the City,” he added.
Espino noted that the Department of Finance issued an Economic Bulletin wherein it called for the removal of quantitative restrictions on sugar importation on September 27.
He said the liberalization is being proposed because local sugar prices are higher than those of the world market alleging that the sugar containing domestic products and for export uncompetitive.
“It is not correct to compare local market prices with world market prices because the world sugar market is where major sugar exporting countries such as Thailand and India sell their excess sugar below their production cost,” he added.
Espino pointed out that the decrease in the economic activity due to the effect of the import liberalization on sugar would have a domino effect on other sectors of the economy in Bacolod.
Espino disclosed that the import liberalization of sugar could lead to the economic dislocation of hundreds of thousands of stakeholders, particularly the agrarian reform beneficiaries, small farmers, and sugar farmworkers considering that eighty-two percent (82%) of sugar farmers in the country are ARBs, or agrarian reform beneficiaries.