Lacson hopes SRA will solve sugar industry’s problems

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with Acting SRA Chief David John Thaddeus Alba and Sugar Board members Pablo Luis Azcona and Ma. Mitzi Mangwag during swearing-in rites held in Malacanang.*

With the appointment of new officials to the Sugar Regulatory Administration, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson hopes the SRA can now tackle the issues facing the sugar industry.

The three appointments of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the SRA are Negrens, including David John Thaddeus Alba as acting administrator, with Pablo Luis Azcona and Ma. Mitzi Mangwag as planter and miller representatives on the Council of sugar, respectively.

That’s what we were hoping for, a Negrense at the head of the SRA, Lacson said.

Now that they are on board, they can tackle the problems of the sugar industry, he added.

In a joint statement, the National Federation of Sugar Cane Planters (NFSP), the Confederation of Sugar Cane Producers (Confed) and the Panay Federation of Sugar Cane Producers (Panay FED) also welcomed new SRA officers and “wish them good luck”.

“We hope they will maintain the consultative nature of decision-making at the SRA. Furthermore, we hope that they will closely monitor the sugar supply and demand situation and take the necessary decisions, including the possibility of additional imports, to ensure a stable supply of sugar and fair prices for consumers and producers,” they said.

The three sugar planters’ federations, representing 57.48% of the country’s sugar production, came to the rescue of replaced Sugar Board member Aurelio Gerardo “Bodie” Valderrama Jr., stressing that he had acted in good faith by signing Sugar Order Number 4, which required the import of 300,000 tons of sugar.

In the same joint statement, they said Valderrama based its decision on historical and official data from the Sugar Regulatory Administration, after proper consultations with stakeholders and following the SRA’s long-established process. .

They also reiterated their confidence and integrity in Valderrama as the planters’ representative on the SRA Board, also thanking him for his brief, candid and selfless service and time on the Sugar Board.

The SRA passed OS4, which allows the import of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, to address the country’s looming sugar shortage from August to October, when the sugar mills are not yet operational or have just started. start grinding. During this period, they said the domestic sugar supply was dependent on stock balances from the previous crop year and early sugar production, which is not enough to cover the average monthly demand.

The shortage was keenly felt by consumers in grocery stores and supermarkets, where retail prices for refined sugar hit an all-time high of 100 pesos per kilo due to the supply shortage. Even industrial users, like soft drink makers, and institutional users like bakeries and patisseries, have complained about the lack of sugar supply.

Thus, the SRA issued Sugar Ordinance No. 4, but it was invalidated by the President. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. However, the president later announced that he was willing to import 150,000 tons of sugar.

They hailed the decision to import 150,000 tonnes of sugar as a step in the right direction, as well as the appointment of a new SRA trustee and two board members so that the SRA can resume its duties normal, sugar executives added.*

Rachel J. Bradford