By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said importation of sugar should take into consideration the “volume and timing” amid calls from certain sugar producer groups recommending the same to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Lacson issued this statement after the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) recommended the importation of 450,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar following the instruction of Marcos to maintain a two-month sugar buffer stock and bring down retail prices.
The governor said the sugar industry “ever since is not totally against the importation of sugar.”
“We’re not against it as long as it will avoid smuggling and it is well studied as to the volume and timing when this imported sugar will come in,” he added.
As to the need for SRA and the sugar industry to consult the provincial government as Negros Occidental is the sugar capital of the Philippines, Lacson said “the sugar industry is a very matured industry already.”
“It really needs very little intervention from the government. It can stand on its own. The only time they will reach out to the government is when it feels that there is smuggled sugar coming in and importation. These are issues that the sugar industry and the government can work for hand in hand,” he stressed.
When asked about the timing of the importation, Lacson said “right now we’re milling and we don’t want this sugar to come in right now.”
“The timing is at the end of the milling season. During tiempos Muertos (non-milling season),” he pointed out.