By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Opposition to the planned sugar import liberalization of the government continues to snowball here.
Wennie Sancho, convenor of SAVE- Sugar Industry Movement, said the biggest losers in the sugar import liberalization are the marginal farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries and the workers in the sugar industry.
Sancho told Daily Guardian here that “we should learn a lesson from the adverse effect of the rice tarrification law that has drastically reduced the millgate price of palay.”
“Sugar import liberalization is a de facto form of trade liberalization that would drive tens of thousands of farmers and workers out of their land and out of jobs, it will lead to the collapse of the sugar industry,” Sancho said.
He said if the sugar import liberalization will push through “an economic catastrophe of unparallel proportion shall engulf the sugar industry.”
“A social volcano will erupt if we will not restrain the imposition of the sugar import liberalization. While we respect the resolutions from our legislators what we need is a clear policy statement from the Duterte administration and our economic managers that they should cease and desist from implementing any and all plans on sugar import in order to save the sugar industry for the sake of the five million Filipinos who stand to be affected if the sugar industry will collapse.”
Sancho said the Department of Agriculture and the Sugar Regulatory Administration should also come out with a clear policy statement as far as the issue is concern.
“If they will not listen to our appeal and heed our call then we will have no choice but to take desperate measures at these desperate times in order to defend our future economic security-we shall launch a nationwide protest so that the thunder of the workers’ voice shall be heard all over,” Sancho said.
Earlier, Tatak Kalamay, an umbrella organization of sugar federations, millers, labor, farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries, also called for a stop to sugar importation liberalization.
(Photo Courtesy of Partido Manggagawa)