THE Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said on Monday that the Palace has approved the donation of sugar seized by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to the Department of Agriculture for sale at KADIWA outlets.

In a briefing, SRA Board Member and Planters’ Representative Pablo Luis S. Azcona said the Palace has issued a memorandum authorizing the donation.

“If the sugar remains with the (BoC), the only options are to destroy it or auction it. What usually happens is that when we auction, the buyers are also the importers,” he said.

With the sale of the sugar at the KADIWA stores, where goods are offered at lower prices because the produce comes directly from farmers without middlemen, “At least the consumer will feel it,” he added.

He said that donated sugar could be priced at P70 per kilogram, which is the typical selling price at KADIWA outlets.

Recent sugar confiscations that could be subject to donation include 8,000 tons in the Port of Batangas and about 4,000 tons in the Port of Subic worth P85 million.

Mr. Azcona said that more than 60,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar have landed in the Philippines, shipped in as part of the 440,000 MT authorized by Sugar Order No. 6.

Sugar Order No. 6 called for the import of 100,000 MT of refined sugar “as soon as possible” with another 100,000 MT to arrive before April 1.

The remaining 240,000 is to be maintained as a buffer stock, as ordered by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., who also serves as the Secretary of Agriculture. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera