NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. was advised by former governor and now Capitol consultant Rafael Coscolluela to prepare for a possible crisis that will affect the sugar workers.
“My apprehension is because of the low prices of sugar and the rising cost of production, it will force us to reduce the cost of production.
Sugar planters will tend to find ways to reduce their cost like fertilization, cost of cultivation, and other means and that they might be forced to use chemicals with control, meaning cut down on labor, and everytime we see cost reduction measures is adopted the first to suffer will be the farm workers,” Coscolluela said.
He added that he is preparing a memorandum for the governor.
“The sugar prices could go higher but sugar farmers should also prepare as prices may go down. I’m a bit apprehensive but I hope these measures to cut down in cost will not result in crisis for sugar workers,” he said.
On the inquiry that will be sought by Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez on the alleged price manipulation by some traders that trigger the low prices of sugar, Coscolluela said, “I tend to suspect that there is cartel. It’s possible that there is price manipulation, but the sad thing is the sugar industry has absolutely has no control in terms of marketing.”
“I hope Congressman Benitez will get useful information. I’m not really sure whether there is a solution but I think the agency that should take serious action is the Department of Trade and Industry because they set the suggested retail price selling based on the millgate prices of sugar,” he further said.