THE House Committee on Agriculture and Good Government will hold an inquiry starting Thursday, August 18, 2022, about the controversial importation of sugar into the country.

The inquiry will be held after Abang Lingkod Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano moved for the “motu proprio” or even without a formal request (for it), Negros Occidental Fourth District Representative Juliet Marie Ferrer said.

Ferrer said that she is also calling for the resignation of the remaining signatories of Sugar Order No. 4 (SO4) since the others have already resigned, referring to Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Board Member Roland Beltran and Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian of the Department of Agriculture.

Aside from them, SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica and Board Member Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama were also signatories of the order.

The order aiming to import 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar did not be pushed through after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. prevented it, saying it was “not authorized.”

For his part, Fifth District Representative Emilio Yulo III said that Negros solons including Ferrer, Paduano and himself attended the briefing held by the joint Committees on Agriculture and Good Government about the matter Monday, August 15, 2022.

Third District Representative Jose Francisco Benitez also attended the briefer via Zoom.

Yulo, who is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, said he is amenable to the inquiry to shed light on the controversial sugar importation.

He also clarified during the house briefer that there is still a pending case before the Himamaylan Regional Trial Court in relation to the equally controversial Sugar Order No. 3 by the SRA on the importation of 200,000 MT of sugar.

Yulo said there are several stakeholders of the sugar industry including the SRA and Agriculture Department officials, who are invited during the investigation.