A SUGAR leader in Negros Occidental said he has brought to the attention of incoming President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Senator Imee Marcos the concern on the alleged move of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to import 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar.

Manuel Lamata, president of United Sugar Producers Federation (Unifed), said Sugar Regulatory Administrator Herminigildo Serafica plans to import sugar into the country citing a shortage in supply still due to the effect of Typhoon Odette.

Lamata said the lack of supply is the reason for the high prices of sugar in the market, adding that this could be "morning deal" because the importation in March was dubbed as “midnight deal”.

The first importation of 200,000 MT, which was contained in Sugar Order No. 3 of the SRA, has no impact for ordinary users because it was only intended for giant beverage and soft drink companies, he said.

Lamata added that their worry is the possible effect of another importation on sugar prices during the start of the incoming milling season.

“How the sugar farmers could cope with the high cost of fertilizers, hauling and wages of the workers?" the sugar leader asked.

Lamata, meanwhile, said that suggested to the president that a sugar leader from Negros Occidental should take the post as the next administrator of the SRA.

Serafica’s term will end on June 30, 2022.

Lamata said a survey of all the warehouses should be made to determine the exact supply and the shortage which he said the SRA under Serafica has failed to do.

For his part, incoming Negros Occidental Fifth District Representative and former SRA Board Member Emilio Yulo III said that sugar importation is not a solution to ease high retail prices of sugar in the local market.

Yulo said that importation is geared towards bringing its delivery to industrial users

"Even if it arrives, it will not reduce prices of sugar in the retail market," he added.