Press Release
September 8, 2022


I concur with the findings of the committee that there "may have been" a sugar shortage. In fact, there was and there is a shortage. Facts don't lie. The numbers don't lie. I hope this puts to rest all speculation that the shortage is artificial, na may bode-bodegang asukal. These optics need to be seen against the data -- how much sugar do we as a country actually consume, how much are we producing locally.

Pero, with due respect to the Chair, tila may ginawang fall guys. Of course the President can retract orders and override policy, but I believe Usec. Sebastian when he says he was of the good faith belief that the importation not only was necessary, it had the support of the Chief Executive.

If the President wanted to recall SO4, it is perfectly within his province to do so, but to throw everything but the kitchen sink on Usec. Sebastian -- na hindi naman kumita, wala namang kinubrang pera-- discourages government officials from acting with urgency on matters that affect consumers, like tight supply, high prices and inflations. In fact, DA insiders say that department officials are now gun-shy about signing any importation documents, "Baka ma-Sebastian," further exacerbating the food shortage.

Kaya itong vilification ng mga civil servants natin, itong mga "raids" na ang ending ay kumpleto naman ang dokumento, itong madramang pag hold ng barko sa Subic na sa dulo ay pinalaya naman -- they make me ask: what are they hiding? What is the real score? Why did the ES need to be subpoenaed and why did he not disclose the August 4 meeting with the President in the first instance?

In the meantime, ang mga manggagawa ng Coke ay nangangamba kung May trabaho pa bukas, ang mga mamimili ay nanlulumo sa presyo ng asukal.

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