Group readies position for House inquiry on sugar import liberalization

December 1, 2019
Erwin P. Nicavera (SunStar Bacolod) |

THE Negros Occidental-based group Save the Sugar Industry Movement (Save-SIM) has prepared its position paper for the upcoming inquiry by the House of Representatives on the proposed liberalization of sugar importation.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of Save-SIM, said the group was invited by the House committee on agriculture and food to attend the meeting on Tuesday, December 3.

Sancho, also the secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said the inquiry will tackle House Resolution No. 412.

The resolution expresses the strong opposition of the House of Representatives to the planned deregulation of the importation of sugar for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare of sugar farmers, farm and mill workers across the country.

“We will submit our position paper for the workers during the hearing,” he said.

The Save-SIM along with other groups earlier signed manifestos and Statement of Solidarity (SOS) for the sugar industry.

The SOS stated that advocates and multi-sectoral cause-oriented leaders from different labor organizations in the province condemn in the strongest possible terms the proposed measure as it would obliterate the local sugar industry displacing thousands of sugar workers and their families.

The groups said a disaster would occur like an overwhelming flood if the sugar industry will collapse as a result of sugar import deregulation.

“One does not need a prophet’s eye to foresee a terrible impending outbreak of the social and economic crisis,” they added.

The statement further stated that a sense of collective responsibility motivated the groups to express their vehement opposition for one, their future is at stake.

“It is our right and our moral duty to oppose sugar import liberalization

because the anticipated economic damage, if not prevented, would be greater and dangerous,” the group said.

“Our dissenting opinion will guide the spirit of criticism on this vital issue of sugar, which is the lifeblood of our province,” the group added.

Sancho said the workers cannot remain silent in the midst of this “grave and imminent” economic disaster.

“It is our moral duty to defend the cause of the sugar workers under attack by the forces of import liberalization policy,” he added.