The National Federation of Sugar Planters (NFSP) recently scored another victory after the House of Representatives passed two resolutions opposing the proposed liberalization of sugar importation by the economic managers.
Artemio A. Dumlao
Economic managers urged to consider opposition to sugar liberalization
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s economic managers should heed the call of lawmakers to scrap the planned opening up of the sugar industry.

The National Federation of Sugar Planters (NFSP) recently scored another victory after the House of Representatives passed two resolutions opposing the proposed liberalization of sugar importation by the economic managers.

“This should send a strong message to our economic managers to cease their call for liberalization, because the legislative branch which represents people from all walks of life, opposes sugar import liberalization,” NFSP president Enrique Rojas said.

Earlier, the Senate also unanimously junked the proposed liberalization of the sugar industry.

The passage of the House resolutions came on the heels of an inquiry sought by sugar industry leaders after the Department of Finance (DOF) announced that they are mulling the possibility of allowing industrial users and food manufacturers to directly import sugar based on allegations that local prices of sugar have become prohibitive.

However, the claim was disputed by industry leaders who submitted papers on mill gate prices of sugar.

Tatak Kalamay convenor David Alba said planters have been selling locally produced sugar at only P34 per kilogram, prompting lawmakers to recommend “connecting farmers straight to consumers to cut the middlemen” and bring retail prices of sugar down.

Former Negros Occidental board member Gary Acuña of Tatak Kalamay also believe that “calls to liberalize importation are due to industrial users” as they appeal particularly to the bottling companies to moderate their profit.

Further, the industry welcomed the planned inquiry on the proposal to give the portion of the revenue from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law that was intended for sugar farmers.

Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Paduano said even just 10 percent share from the excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages would be about P3.7 million annually that could help accelerate the modernization of the sugar industry and make it globally competitive.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) already said there remains no concrete policy regarding the liberalization of the sugar industry, adding that a study on the plan will start soon.

“We have been contracted for an in-depth study for six months starting this month. We will study the pros and cons and its impact. We share the observation of DOF about the unrealized potential of the sugar industry and that there’s a need to improve competitiveness and productivity,” NEDA director Nieva Natural said earlier.

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