Possible ‘nationwide protest’ discussed
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Save the Sugar Industry Movement lead convenor Wennie Sancho predicted the eruption of a “social volcano” if the push for sugar liberalization, or the deregulation of sugar importation, is not restrained.
“An economic catastrophe of unparalleled proportion [will] engulf the sugar industry,” he insisted. “Sugar import liberalization is a de facto form of trade liberalization, [which] would drive tens of thousands of farmers and workers out of their land and jobs.”
“It will lead to the collapse of the sugar industry,” the sugar industry advocate added.
Sancho called on the Department of Agriculture and Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to release a clear policy statement on the matter.
“If they will not listen to our appeal and heed our call then we will have no choice but to take desperate measures,” he affirmed. “We will launch a nationwide protest.”
Earlier, Luzon sugar farmers expressed their opposition to the proposal and pressured the Department of Agriculture and SRA to protect the sugar industry.
Former SRA Board Member Lito Sandoval criticized current SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, who previously 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.”/DGB, WDJ