LABOR leader Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA), posed a challenge to the sugar leaders in the province to make a move to stop the industrial users and beverage companies in the country to be allowed of direct sugar importation.

Sancho is also pressing for a Senate inquiry relative to the expose by Senator Risa Hontiveros on the alleged sugar smuggling allowed by the government that resulted in the coming into the country of imported sugar ahead of the signing of Sugar Order No. 6 for the importation of 440,000 metric tons, as he asked, "Is the sugar order retroactive?"

He warned of the big rally before, where around 5,000 sugar planters and workers staged a protest against Coca-Cola after the company and other industrial users also attempted to directly import sugar, to send a strong message to the government that allowing industrial users and soft drink companies to directly import sugar would be dangerous and would certainly kill the sugar industry.

Sancho lamented that they want to know the real score about the controversies hounding the sugar industry, especially on the expose of Hontiveros and the root cause why the government came up with Sugar Order No. 6.

"They will manipulate the market by flooding it with imported and cheap sugar from India and Thailand, which are subsidized by the government," Sancho said.

Meanwhile, Sancho also said that they sensed something fishy in the issuance of Sugar Order No. 6, which promoted Sugar Regulatory Administrator David Thaddeus Alba to resign. "Because he realized that he was being used," Sancho further claimed.*