“I DON'T think we should continue talking about this anymore.”

This was the reaction of Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson Thursday, August 11, 2022, on the issue between Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer and Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Board Member Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr.

Ferrer has questioned Valderrama’s appointment as he disclosed that he is working out for the revocation of the latter’s appointment as member of the SRA Board representing the planters by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“Mr. Valderrama has made an open letter and he has recognized the authority of the President,” Lacson said, adding that it is not good to say that there is brewing disagreement between planters’ groups in Negros Occidental.

The governor said, “we should be united and solid for the sugar industry and that the move of the President to appoint Valderrama is gearing towards unity.”

Valderrama was a staunch supporter of former vice president Leni Robredo, who ran against Marcos for president during the elections in May 2022.

“If Valderrama still holds even an iota of delicadeza, he better resign from his post,” Ferrer said.

But for his part, Valderrama, in an open letter to the sugarcane industry and its stakeholders Wednesday, August 10, said that he is humbled and challenged by the opportunity given to him by the president to serve as planters’ representative to the Sugar Board.

The sugar planter emphasized that he did not seek this position and did not even consider the possibility, given his open support for the candidacy of Robredo.

“I will not turn my back on the chance to serve the industry,” he added.

Valderrama is the president of the Vicmico Planters Association Inc. and current director of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc. (Confed).

Meanwhile, Lacson said that the local sugar industry stakeholders are surely thankful because the President decided to turn down a proposal to import 350,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar amid reports of a looming supply shortage.

He said he believes that Ferrer played a big part in the President’s decision since the vice governor has been appointed as his personal adviser for Western Visayas.