Court stops importation of 200,000 MT of sugar | Inquirer News

Court stops importation of 200,000 MT of sugar

/ 08:12 PM February 15, 2022

Court stops importation of 200,000 MT of sugar

Sugar. Stock photo

BACOLOD CITY — A temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the importation of 200,000 metric tons of sugar into the country was served at the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) main office in Quezon City on Tuesday.

Executive Judge Reginald Fuentebella of the Regional Trial Court Branch 73 in Sagay City said the TRO will be effective for 20 days while the hearing of the writ of preliminary injunction will be held on February 24 through video conference.


“The TRO was issued to preserve the status quo until a hearing of the application for preliminary injunction is heard,” he said.


The judge was acting on a civil case for injunction with prayer for the issuance of a TRO  filed by the Rural Sugar  Planter’s Association Inc. (RSPAI) represented by its president  Joseph Edgar “GJ” Sarrosa against the SRA represented by Administrator Hermenegildo  Serafica.

The RSPAI is a member association of the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED).

READ: PH importing 200,000 tons of sugar to stabilize prices

Sarrosa, who is also a UNIFED director, said that SRA Sugar Order No. 3 that allowed the importation of 200,000 metric tons of sugar starting March will bring “grave injustice, untold  irreparable  injury, loses and damages to the sugar industry   that has been devastated by Typhoon Odette.”

“There is no basis for Sugar Order No. 3  since Serafica himself has stated that ”there is no reason for prices to increase since supply is stable despite the effects of Typhoon Odette,” Sarrosa said.

He said the announcement that sugar importation will be allowed has already driven down millgate sugar prices by as much as P250 per 50 kg bag to the detriment especially of marginal farmers who were already reeling from the skyrocketing of fertilizer and fuel.


“More than 90 percent of the sugar farmers are agrarian reform beneficiaries. Gone are the days of the hacienderos,” he said.

UNIFED president Manuel Lamata said in a statement read for him by federation director  Paul Azcona said they are currently in an agricultural crisis.

“What is happening in the sugar industry now falls on the shoulders of Serafica. I appeal once more to President Rodrigo Duterte to fire him as he has no decency to resign despite everything,” he said.

Serafica, when asked for his reaction, said on the advice of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel on the pending case for issuance of an injunction, the SRA will hold in abeyance any official statement or act pertaining to importation and will yield to the court’s order, in accordance with the sub judice rule.

“This is without prejudice to any legal action which the SRA may thereafter undertake. Stakeholders are continually assured that the SRA is complying with its mandate under existing laws, rules, and regulations. Its end in view is toward addressing the needs of the sugarcane industry for all concerned sectors under its authority and jurisdiction,” Serafica said.

Sarrosa said they are not against the importation of sugar but it should not be implemented during the local harvest season and should be properly calibrated in consultation with industry stakeholders.


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TAGS: Agriculture, court, importation, sugar, TRO

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