Guv backs creation of national sugar program

NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson expressed support to the proposal of Senator Cynthia Villar for the creation of the National Sugar Program that will handle the implementation of the fund under the Sugar Industry Development Act (Sida).

"It seems the sugar industry cannot manage the P2 billion budget mandated by the Sida law. Obviously, there is something wrong," Lacson said.

He said whatever body is formed can assure the funds allocated for the sugar industry will be used.

During her visit to the province last week, Villar said she plans to amend the Sugarcane Industry Development Act as part of efforts to make the sugar industry competitive.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, was in La Carlota City Friday, January 17, with Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino to assess the state of the sugar industry in the grassroots level.

Negros is the country's top sugar producer.

The senator said the Sida law set aside P2 billion a year for the sugar industry to improve themselves.

"Of the total amount, P1 billion goes to infrastructure like farm to mill roads and irrigation, P300 million yearly for block farms, another P300 million for the shared facilities program and mechanization, P300 million for cheap credit through the Land Bank of the Philippines with a two percent credit and the remaining amount for scholarship of the children of the sugar farmers," Villar said.

But she said the sugar industry through the Sugar Regulatory Administration underspent the allocation.


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