Press Release
March 5, 2010


BACOLOD CITY - Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. today criticized the government's hasty decision to import sugar from neighboring countries as measure to control the price of locally-produced sweetener.

"The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) made a hasty decision when it allowed the importation of 150,000 metric tones of sugar," he said, adding that it did not entirely solve the sugar producers' problems.

According to the senator, the higher price of sugar - which pegged at P55 to P60 a kilo - is only the result of the increase of fertilization and other production costs, which the industry has no control of.

In a dialogue with the senator, sugar producers expressed fear that imported sweetener would bring down the industry - which six million people are dependent on it. They explained that the imported commodity would have a competitive edge because it is tariff-free and the importers' production costs are cheaper.

He further explained that sugar importers are capable of bringing down the commodity's price because their government is subsidizing their production costs.

"Is the government aware that for the past several years, our sugar producers suffered prices at production levels? The prices of fuel and fertilizer have soared high. The trade and industry department failed to put a price cap on fertilizer to protect our farmers and sugarcane growers," Bong Revilla informed the reporters.

It was learned that the government recently allowed the importation of sugar. Bong Revilla, on the other hand, questioned such decision as the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) claimed that we have abundant surplus of the commodity.

The lawmaker criticized the government for failing to address the root problem of local producers.

"Our local producers fend for themselves. The sugar industry does not receive any subsidy from the government. They shoulder all the expenses. They do not have the choice but to raise the market price in order to recover the operating cost," he concluded.

The senator recommended that the government should subsidize the local sugar producers in order to protect them from the consistent rise of fuel and fertilizer prices.

Meanwhile, about 60,000 metric tones of Thai sugar arrived in the country last month. To protect our sugar producers, he suggested that the SRA should set a benchmark which is at a price level of our local commodity.(

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