Blacklist firms tagged in sugar smuggling if irregularities found — Hontiveros | Inquirer News

Blacklist firms tagged in sugar smuggling if irregularities found — Hontiveros

/ 09:29 AM February 28, 2023

Three federations call for intensified anti-smuggling operations after mill gate sugar prices plunged in the last three weeks.

Sugar | Stock photo

MANILA, Philippines — The three firms that were allegedly involved in the illegal sugar importation must be blacklisted if irregularities are proven, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Tuesday.

Hontiveros earlier uncovered what she called a government-sponsored sugar smuggling, with three importers supposedly benefiting from the sugar importation: All Asian Countertrade, Sucden Philippines Inc. and Edison Lee Marketing Corporation.


“Madaming tanong na kailangang masagot, lalo na pagdating sa pananagutan nitong tatlong kompanya na nakaambang solohin ang importation ng sugar supply ng bansa,” she said in a statement.


(Many questions need to be answered, especially when it comes to accountability of the three companies that seem to control the importation of sugar supply in the country.)

“Kung sangkot sila sa kapabayaan o anomalya, dapat ay agarang silang ilagay sa blacklist ng DA (Department of Agriculture) at sampahan ng kasong kriminal o administratibo,” she continued.

(If they are involved with anomalies, they should be immediately blacklisted by the DA and charged with criminal and administrative cases.)

Raising that it is a “conspiracy,” Hontiveros asked who is responsible for arranging the importation.

“I urge the three companies to cooperate with all investigations over this issue. They still have time to choose not to be fully embroiled in such a brazen and outrageous conspiracy. Kung naipit lang sila (If they are just pressured), then they should immediately reveal to the public the individuals who may be truly responsible for this ‘Sugar Import Fiasco 2.0,’” she added.

She called on government workers to expose any information they have in relation to the issue.


“Likewise, I urge our fellow government officials in the relevant agencies to reveal efforts to pressure you or others to enable, protect or cover up illegal acts. Tandaan natin (Remember): 20 years ang (is the) prescription period for crimes like agricultural smuggling – plenty of time for the truth to come out. Baka sa huli (Maybe in the end), you will be left holding the bag, while they are laughing all the way to the bank,” the senator said.

“There is a reason why we have strict laws against smuggling of agricultural goods – they prevent greedy individuals from hoarding our food supply and keeping prices of agricultural goods unjustly high. Kailangan nating agarang aksyunan ang isyu na ito upang mapapababa ang presyo ng asukal at ng iba pang pagkain na kailangan ng bawat pamilya,” she went on.

(We need to immediately act on this issue to lower the prices of sugar and other commodities that each family needs.)

Hontiveros, who filed a resolution for an investigation on the issue, reiterated her call for the Senate to look into the matter.

The opposition senator noted that Sugar Order No. 6 sugar imports should arrive on March 1 following proper processing. She said 260 20-foot sugar containers entered the country without an order on February 9.

Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin was likewise tagged in the fiasco.

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Last year, the Senate investigated the sugar importation mess under Sugar Order No. 4. Then Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez was linked to the issue.

TAGS: Department of Agriculture

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