Groups ink manifesto opposing plan to import 450,000MT of sugar

(File photo/BBT)
(File photo/BBT)

A MANIFESTO opposing the government’s plan to import 450,000 metric tons of sugar was signed by various organizations in Negros Occidental over the weekend.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of the General Alliance of Worker’s Association (GAWA), said the labor leaders and advocates representing the majority of labor organizations in Negros Occidental declared their opposition to the plan of the government to import 450,000 metric tons of refined sugar into the country.

“ It may sound redundant, but it is necessary for us to know and understand the implications if the floodgates of imported sugar will be opened. Grave and irreparable injury will result from the implementation of 450,000 metric tons of sugar imports,” he said.

He added it will condemn the economic bankruptcy of the sugar industry’s 80,000 planters and the employment and livelihood loss of its 700,000 agricultural workers, 26, 000 mill workers, and some three million downstream dependents.

Sancho noted that the farm workers in the industry are the lowest paid in the country’s economy.

“They are suffering from starvation wages because most sugar-producing provinces are monoculture economies and have very narrow employment opportunities. They are the people who stand to lose the most in the industry if imported sugar will flood the country,” Sancho said.

With the implementation of the 450,000 metric tons of refined sugar and the full liberalization of the industry, he said the sugar farm workers will have their “tiempos muertos” not only for three months but for a lifetime.

“In this manifestation, we express the strong opposition of the labor sector to the planned importation of 450,000 metric tons of sugar for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare of sugar farmers, farm and mill workers in the sugar industry,” he added.

Sancho disclosed that their manifesto will be forwarded to the sugar producers, labor unions, Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), and the Department of Agriculture.*


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