THE Save-Sugar Industry Movement (Save-Sim) in Negros Occidental called for the abolition of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) for its alleged failure to regulate and allocate the importation of sugar properly.
Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of Save-sim, questioned the SRA on Thursday, March 2, for its failure to act on the entry of 260 20-foot containers containing sugar shipment at the port of Batangas ahead of its official release of Sugar Order (SO) No. 6 on February 15.
Sancho said the 260 20-foot containers containing the sugar shipment arrived six days before the issuance of SO No. 6.
"It’s not retroactive (SO No. 6). So why did they fail to confiscate the items, and charges were not filed against those who were responsible for this technical smuggling," he said.
He added that the shipment of said sugar was not part of SO No. 6, so therefore, it’s illegal.
Malacanang officials earlier clarified that there were no irregularities in the government’s importation of some 450,00 metric tons (MT) of sugar before the SRA issued SO No. 6.
Sanchio said that Senator Miguel Zubiri, in his privilege speech in 2022, said that there are government officials who are facilitating the sugar importation, receiving P100 per bag of sugar.
He said, "If we multiply 450,000 metric tons of refined sugar by 20 bags per tonne, that would be about 900 million bags; multiply that by P100, and you will have P900 million. Is it true that there are government officials who will receive P900 million from the 450,000 MT of sugar importation? Who are these government officials responsible for facilitating this importation? Is it true that only selected traders are allowed to import sugar?"
If this is true and this is happening, Sancho said plunder and economic sabotage are being committed within the sugar industry by the people who have been sworn to regulate and protect the industry.
He said that the government should look into the plight of marginal farmers and workers in the sugar industry.
He added that they should be given a share in the profit of sugar importation for their economic survival in the midst of the unabated practices in the sugar importation business.*
(From: Sugar Regulatory Administration's website)
March 03, 2023
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