Lawmaker urges SRA to manage sugar’s millgate price

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental 5th District Rep. Dino Yulo said Monday that the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) should manage millgate prices of sugar amid the reported smuggling of imported sugar that caused prices to drop.

In a phone patch interview with capitol reporters, Yulo said there is no congressional hearing yet on the alleged sugar smuggling.

But he assured to attend a hearing should one be initiated in the House.

When asked if he would initiate a congressional hearing, the lawmaker said that he is still in the process of compiling the documents on the reported sugar smuggling.

“What is important is for SRA to manage our millgate prices and continue to maintain that profitability level of our farmers,” Yulo said, adding that “subong ya ang small farmers naton especially sa kabukiran ini na oportunindad nila makagaling kay tig-ilinit.”

He said that the price of sugar has gone down from P3,300 per 50-kilogram bag (Lkg) to P2,800 Lkg and is currently at P3,000/Lkg.

Yulo, who is a sugar planter himself, also said that it is too early to say whether the drop in sugar prices was due to the alleged sugar smuggling.

“Kon actual gid ang gina-hambalan ang 260 containers (of sugar) ara pa sa yardahan. Of course, we know that sugar is a political commodity it is affected sa amo ni klase nga scenario kag environment. We are asking for the papers, we will conduct an investigation so we can get to the bottom of this,” he pointed out.

He further pointed out that “everybody is in agreement that eventually we will come out short (of sugar supply) wala na debate. At the end of the milling season ang estimate sang SRA is only 1.9 million metric tons left, our national consumption is 2.4 million metric tons may ara kita shortage. Okay lang na kon mag import kita as long as indi ma-apektuhan ang millgate price ta asta matapos ang milling,” Yulo said.

Earlier, Negros Occidental 6th District Rep Mercedes Alvarez-Lansang supported the call of three sugar planters’ groups to investigate the reported sugar smuggling that caused prices to drop to the disadvantage of small sugar planters.

Three planters federations and a millers association called for an investigation into the questionable sugar shipment which entered the country before the issuance of Sugar Order No. 6 which allowed the importation of 440,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar.

They also urged the House of Representatives and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate this and other blatant cases of sugar smuggling.

National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) headed by Enrique D. Rojas, the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations (CONFED) headed by Aurelio J. Valderrama, Jr., the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (PANAYFED) headed by Danilo A. Abelita, and the Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMS) headed by Pablo L. Lobregat said they were alarmed by recent reports of alleged sugar smuggling.