Hontiveros urges resigned SRA chief to ‘speak his truth’ on sugar import mess
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros urged Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) chief David Thaddeus Alba to “come out and speak his truth” on the alleged preferential treatment given to sugar importers and the issue of smuggling plaguing the country.
“We urge Former Administrator Alba to come out and speak his truth […] Baka kung hindi (If not), you will be left holding the bag,” Hontiveros said in a statement issued Saturday.
On March 24, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) confirmed the resignation of Alba due to his “worsening health condition.” It will be effective on April 15.
“If the resignation is due to his failing health, then I wish him a speedy recovery,” Hontiveros said.
However, she claimed that the circumstances of Alba’s decision suggest that he might have witnessed how the SRA is only used as a rubber stamp “to legitimize the preferential treatment given to all Asians and the other two importers.”
“Basta ang alam natin, sa kabila ng pressure ng DA (Department of Agriculture), ay hindi pumirma si Administrator Alba sa sugar release order para sa mga smuggled na asukal na nakaipit pa rin sa port of Batangas.” Hontiveros wrote.
(Despite the pressure from the DA, Alba did not sign the sugar release order for the smuggled sugar in Batangas port.)
The senator also questioned the function of SRA if the government would continuously allow traders to violate the agency’s guidelines on sugar importation.
Aside from Alba, she also urged others with vital information to come forward and for the current administration to “strengthen the value chain of agricultural development, not the value chain of corruption.”
Palace: Sugar Regulatory Administration chief’s resignation effective April 15
Hontiveros: Palace must shatter silence on new sugar fiasco
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