THE SUGAR Regulatory Administration (SRA) should stop its plan for a new round of importation after two regional courts ruled against a similar program, said a senator whose help has been sought by growers.
“Our local sugar farmers are again approaching our office, deeply concerned over talks of a new SRA proposal that would green-light the importation of 350,000 metric tons of sugar into the country,” Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said in a statement on Thursday.
This comes after two regional courts issued separate rulings against Sugar Order No. 3 in February, which sought to import 200,000 metric tons of sugar, noting that it will cause “grave and irreparable injury” to local producers.
“Our courts have already landed on the side of our sugar farmers last February, so it’s disheartening that we are having the same conversation about importation again,” the senator said.
“Lest the SRA will be accused of this being a midnight deal bereft of propriety and due process. They should not allow this while our farmers are harvesting their crops,” he added.
Mr. Zubiri noted that the proposed importation deal will put local farmers at a gross disadvantage, particularly at a time when they are still dealing with setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic and spiraling fertilizer prices.
“Instead of this importation program, let us focus on delivering much-needed assistance to our farmers, and let us find ways to boost local production not just of crops, but of fertilizers as well,” he said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan