Sugar industry worker leaders call for review of sugar charter
BACOLOD CITY –– Sugar industry labor leaders are calling for a review of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) charter to make it more responsive and in tune with the changing times.
“It is high time for Congress to review the 33-year-old law,” said Roland de la Cruz, National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (NACUSIP) president.
Amid the threat of globalization and the government’s plan to liberalize the importation of sugar, the sugar industry will again be on the brink of collapse once cheap imported sugar floods the market.
Dela Cruz said this would adversely affect the welfare of the 84,000 sugar farmers and 720,000 sugar industry workers.
He said the call for the review of the SRA charter is timely since sugar industry stakeholders, such as the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations, have called for a legislative inquiry to improve the SRA’s exercise of its regulatory functions and for the Department of Agriculture to conduct a performance audit on SRA.
“The audit should include the examination of its current organizational structure and capabilities and to ensure that SRA performs its mandate,” he said.
The landscape of the sugar industry has changed, he added, pointing out that 80 percent of sugar production is now from small farmers and agrarian reform beneficiary lands.
“The current set up in the SRA is not responsive anymore to the plight of the sugar farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries. SRA should be inclusive in crafting its policies and that the sugar farmers, field workers, and mill workers should be considered as we are all stakeholders of the sugar industry,” de la Cruz said.
Various leaders and agrarian reform beneficiaries’ representatives under the NACUSIP from Cagayan Valley, Tarlac, Batangas, Bukidnon, Davao, Negros Oriental, and Negros Occidental signed and authorized the manifesto.
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