Press Release
February 17, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1219:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the TRO against SRA


I join the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) in welcoming the decision of the Sagay City RTC to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Sugar Regulatory Administration's (SRA) order allowing the importation of 200,000 metric tons of standard and bottler's grade refined sugar.

The arguments being presented by UNIFED are well-taken. The SRA cannot invoke the damage done by Typhoon "Odette" as excuse to allow importation as the production were merely interrupted for about a week, according to UNIFED. They also guarantee that the present production is enough to meet the local demand.

The problem here is the failure to reach out to stakeholders. Intentional or not, what is missing in this case is the voice of stakeholders in the determination of policy. It is clear from SRA Sugar Order No. 3 that it was made without consulting local industry producers.

It appears that SRA merely acted on limited concern over the extent of the damage caused by Typhoon "Odette" but failed to discuss with the stakeholders the actual effect to the overall local sugar industry. If they did, they would have known that the recovery would be faster than they initially predicted and that there is no great rush to import 200,000 metric tons of sugar. Doing so would have shown that the proposed importation would be economically devastating to the local industry.

The key stakeholders here are the farmers/sugar producers. We cannot overemphasize the need to protect local production.

If we allow the unnecessary importation of sugar, our local sugar industry would suffer.

Especially now at the time when we need our economy to recover, we must seize every opportunity to promote buying local. SRA Sugar Order No. 3 goes against that.


(Access the handwritten version, here:

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