Marcos okays import of 150,000 tonnes of sugar
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has approved the import of up to 150,000 metric tonnes (MT) of sugar to address a shortage of supply and curb rising prices in the Philippines.
Half of the total import, or 75,000 MT, would be allocated to industrial users or companies using sugar in their manufacturing process, while the other half would be given to consumers or the market, according to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) website.
“After due consultation, stakeholders in the sugar industry have submitted their respective positions and letters of endorsement recognising the need for an importation programme for crop year 2022 to 2023,” an order signed by Marcos and other Department of Agriculture and SRA officials dated September 13 said.
Before the order, there were controversies involving sugar imports after the president stopped the SRA’s Sugar Order No 4, which was signed on his behalf and mandated the import of 300,000 MT of sugar amid an impending shortage.
Marcos contradicted the order, saying that while there may be a need to import sugar, it would definitely be lower than 300,000 MT. The current administration has vowed to investigate the issue, saying Department of Agriculture undersecretary for Operations Leocadio Sebastian and other DA and SRA officials who signed Sugar Order No 4 are under investigation.
Panels in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are currently investigating the issue. After the revelation of an attempt to import sugar, there have been assessments that the shortage may be artificial, considering that some inspections have shown sugar being stocked in warehouses.
Also, a cargo vessel carrying imported sugar was stopped by the Bureau of Customs at a Subic port due to allegations that the import documents presented were merely recycled.
The Malacañang Palace said “heads may roll” at the bureau after a possible “attempt to smuggle over 7,000 metric tonnes of sugar into the country”.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Asia News Network