Former SRA official: Importation will kill us
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Luzon sugar farmers recently expressed their opposition to the proposal recommending sugar liberalization, or the deregulation of sugar importation, and are pressuring the Department of Agriculture and the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to protect the sugar industry.
Former SRA Board Member Lito Sandoval criticized current SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, who earlier said he would seek guidance from Agriculture Secretary William Dar with regard to the matter.
“What ‘guidance’ does he need?” the former SRA official asked. “Isn’t it clear to him yet that any import liberalization program will be disastrous to the industry?”
“Is he now telling us that he actually does not know what he is doing?” he added.
Sandoval then stated, “Importation will kill us and destroy the lives of five million Filipinos.”
Meanwhile, Luzon Federation head Arnel Toreja echoed Sandoval’s sentiment and said, “Thousands of sugar farmers in Luzon are getting restless.”
“It is time for the SRA head to flex his muscles and show us some semblance of leadership,” he added.
Toreja also addressed Serafica directly, noting, “If you do not have it in you to protect the very industry that you vowed to serve, then it’s time to hang your hat and give it to someone who can truly lead the sugar industry.”/DGB, WDJ