Exec: Summit to formulate reforms in sugar industry

November 27, 2019
Gilbert P. Bayoran (The Visayan Daily Star) | https://bit.ly/2r7xqEz

Reforms in the sugar industry being asked from them by the Philippine economic managers, who are pushing for the sugar import liberalization, are expected to be formulated during the industry summit February next year.

Raymund Montinola, spokesperson of the national Confederation of Sugar Producers, said they have started discussing possible scenarios and policies on how to counter the liberalization being pushed by the economic managers.

Pending proposals from various sugar industry stakeholders on how to reform the sugar industry, the proposed sugar import liberalization has been put on hold, following a meeting among Senate majority floor leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, and National Economic and Development Authority director-general Ernesto Pernia last week.

Montinola admitted that the primary problem is the productivity, noting that the government is price sensitive, which prompted the economic managers to push for the sugar import liberalization.

The sugar allocation for industrial users is a temporary solution, stressing that the real problem is productivity, he added.

If you can have a remedy for the problem of productivity, everything will come, Montinola said.

Sugar Regulatory Administration Board Member Dino Yulo yesterday said the study tour in Thailand and the sugar summit are geared towards the coming up of counter proposals against the proposed sugar import liberalization, which they intend to do two to three months from now.

Yulo also stressed the need for continuing vigilance against threats of sugar import liberalization, despite the all-out support of almost majority of the senators.

“We need to take a look at ensuring that prices be advantageous to both producers and affordable to consumers,” he added.

“That is always the bottom line, our government is price sensitive. We don’t want to happen what had been experienced by the rice industry,” Yulo said.

Tatak Kalamay convenor David Alba said yesterday that all inputs from the sugar producers, millers, traders, SRA, and other sugar industry stakeholders during the sugar summit will be consolidated, and presented to the economic managers, to counter their proposal.

“We should provide reforms that we want from the different sectors of the industry,” Alba said.

“In this age of liberalization, that is now happening all over the world,” Senator Cynthia Villar said on Monday. “We have to be competitive and make reforms, in order for sugar and rice farmers to survive.”