By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Incumbent Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, said the proposal surrounding sugar import liberalization should be studied carefully.
Marcos, who campaigned alongside President Rodrigo Duterte in Victorias City last Friday, said, despite sugar prices in Negros trending around P1,400 per bag, traders are still making “too much profit.”
“Once it arrives in Manila. the sugar, per kilogram, is sold at P55 to P60,” she explained. “[That] means traders are earning more than double.”
The senatorial candidate also suggested safeguards as the industry has faced problems since the time of her father, former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Throughout her campaign, Marcos has promoted the “Kadiwa” system, a program introduced by her father and implemented in her home province.
The system establishes mobile stores where goods are sold as prices lower than market rates.
The candidate’s brother, former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. raised the issue when he was in office.
“The Kadiwa system enables the public to buy goods at cheaper rates and farmers to sell their crops without having to worry about transportation costs; also eliminating the middle men who force prices up,” he explained.
Earlier, Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III made a similar statement, saying lawmakers have to slow down over the proposed sugar import liberalization.
The senator said the situation with rice tariffication is very different from the proposed sugar liberalization.
“Rice is food stuff, you cannot avoid it because it’s the staple food [of] the Filipino,” Pimentel said. “We should not blindly follow that for sugar because the situation is very different.”
The incumbent senator is one of the signatories on Senate Resolution No. 1014, which opposes the proposed liberalization of the sugar industry.
Solidarity of Workers in the Sugar Industry recently held a press conference to demonstrate against RA 11203, or the “rice tariffication law.”
The group drew a parallel between claims a liberalization on sugar imports would kill the domestic sugar industry suggesting the same outcome for the rice industry with the passage of the said law./DGB, WDJ