Villar: Sugar liberalization is inevitable
With the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) failing to fully utilize the Sugar Industry Development Act, which is worth P2 billion annually, Senator Cynthia Villar is seeking the creation of a national sugar program. She noted, under the current system, she is unable to access SRA regulatory powers.
The senator noted, with the agency unable to fully utilize their allocation, this year’s allotment is reduced to P500 million.
“Maybe they do not want that farmers will improve,” she asserted.
Villar arrived in Negros Occidental yesterday and visited La Carlota City with Assistant Finance Secretary Antonio Joselito Lambino to assess the current sugar industry situation in the province and speak with farmers about their concerns.
“We need to be competitive,” she stressed. “We have to compete with other sugar-producing countries.”
Meanwhile, in terms of sugar liberalization, or the deregulation of sugar importation, the senator called it an eventuality.
“We are now in a competitive age [and] we have to liberalize,” Villar affirmed. “It’s just a matter of time.”
Last November, Villar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, blamed the SRA after the agency provided import permits to traders instead of food processors.
“Why give the import permits to the traders?” the senator asked. “That would result [in] cartels and high prices of sugar.”
“It [was] the wrong move of the SRA,” she added. “They are supposed to protect the sugar industry.”
Villar noted, imported sugar, particularly from Thailand, is cheaper because the cost of production is lower./DGB, WDJ