By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Recently-appointed administrator for the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Hermenegildo Serafica yesterday assured industry stakeholders Sugar Order No. 3 (SO3), which was issued earlier this year, will be retained.
Serafica met with industry stakeholders at the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol, with Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol also in attendance.
“I assured the sugar industry [SO3] is still binding,” said the SRA chief. “We have the full support of the agriculture secretary and President Rodrigo Duterte.”
However, when pressed on his position with regard to Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Inc., he offered no comment.
According to Serafica, the sugar industry is facing many challenges, especially small farmers. He said one of his priorities at SRA is to make the country’s sugar industry more competitive by reducing the cost of production and pushing for more mechanization.
Meanwhile, Piñol said the meeting with the stakeholders was met with positivity.
“They are happy because, after the dialogue, we have already set a timetable, like, who is going to handle mechanization, livelihood, loaning program, and scholarships,” Piñol said.
The cabinet official also assured stakeholders the president is thinking outside the box.
He noted, the industry should not be bureaucratic and a dialogue with the public must be conducted in order to solve the problems of the industry./WDJ