Economic, agri execs seem at odds over sugar woes – Hontiveros
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s economic managers and officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Sugar Regulatory Administration appear to be clashing amid problems hounding the sugar industry.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros pointed out on Monday that despite government economic managers’ recommendations, the administration lacked a concrete plan to solve the sugar problem.
The lackluster 2021–22 harvest has caused sugar prices in the Philippines to spike, according to the Sugar Regulatory Administration. Others, like the United Sugar Producers Federation, attribute the ensuing price hike to retailers hoarding in anticipation of the situation.
Marcos, who also serves as Agriculture Secretary, earlier pledged to resolve the sugar industry’s concerns.
“May rekomendasyon na ang economic managers kung paano sosolusyunan ang problema sa asukal, pero bakit wala pa ring mga konkretong plano na lumalabas?” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(Our economic managers already have a solution for resolving the sugar issues, but why are there no concrete plans yet?)
“Mukhang may nag-uumpugang bato sa pagitan ng economic managers at ng mga itinalaga ni Presidente sa Department of Agriculture at Sugar Regulatory Administration,” she added.
(It seems like there are clashing forces between economic managers and officials that the president appointed in the Department of Agriculture and the Sugar Regulatory Administration.)
The opposition senator also recalled Marcos’ previous remark that industrial users of sugar would be running at full capacity soon.
“This is good news, but it came a few months late, and the promise still hasn’t been kept,” Hontiveros said.
“If the news story and clips are complete, the President didn’t say that he wanted to bring sugar prices back down to at least where they were in 2021,” she also said.
Earlier, the DA said it is eyeing to come up with a suggested retail price for sugar since its price has increased again.
Refined sugar’s price was from P70 to P134 per kilo as of October 7. It was around P50 to P60 per kilo around the same time last year.
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