(UPDATED) MALACAÑANG has launched an investigation into the “unauthorized” assembly of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) the place a decision was accepted to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar, a choice that was later rejected by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Press Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles stated in a press briefing on Thursday that the SRA can’t be convened with out the President, who additionally heads the Division of Agriculture (DA), making the decision “unlawful.”
The doc in query, Sugar Order 4, seems to have been signed for and on behalf of the President by Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, Cruz-Angeles stated.
The different signatories are SRA Board Vice Chairperson Hermenegildo Serafica, millers’ consultant on the board Roland Beltran, and Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr., performing board member and planters’ consultant.
“The investigation is ongoing to find out if any motion to trigger the President to lose confidence and belief in his officers could be discovered, or if malice or negligence was concerned. In such case, if such findings are made, then the one The remaining dedication is what number of heads will roll,” he stated.
Cruz-Angeles stated the President didn’t place Sebastian or the opposite signatories of the decision on preventive suspension and they’re going to have the chance to clarify their aspect.
Shortly after the information broke concerning the transfer to import sugar to keep away from the scarcity, Malacañang introduced that Marcos had “rejected” the proposal.
Cruz-Angeles additionally denied that the President accepted and signed the doc.
What truly occurred, based on him, is that Government Secretary Victor Rodriguez filed a sugar importation plan to current to the President who will decide if such a transfer will “have an effect on the incoming harvest” subsequent month.
“It was a directive, truly. It was verbally issued in order that the President could make a dedication afterward, whether or not or not the importation is definitely warranted,” Cruz-Angeles stated.
“Sugar is among the imports that we take nice care of. It’s a balancing act. Importation must be fastidiously studied to guard the buyer in opposition to the rise within the worth of fundamental commodities whereas guaranteeing on the similar time that it doesn’t we’re destroying the native business,” he added.
The Manila Instances tried to get the response of Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista and SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica however they didn’t reply to calls and textual content messages.
An announcement issued by the DA Public Affairs Workplace quoted Evangelista as saying: “As Secretary Trixie Angeles stated, the matter is underneath investigation.”
In an interview with The Instances earlier, Serafica confirmed that the decision was signed by the SRA board on August 9.
The order was uploaded to the SRA web site the next day, however was taken down after Cruz-Angeles stated the President didn’t approve the decision.
The Workplace of the Nationwide Registrar, College of the Philippines Regulation Middle in Diliman, Quezon Metropolis acquired the five-page decision on the identical day.
The United Sugar Producers Federation on Thursday urged Marcos to order an inspection of sugar warehouses, saying merchants are hoarding shares, inflicting the retail worth of refined sugar to rise.
In a radio interview, the president of the group, Manuel Lamata, additionally assured that there is no such thing as a scarcity of sugar.
After the value of refined sugar rose previous P100 final week, the advised retail worth or SRP of P100 per kilo was imposed for the products.
Lamata stated the SRP is “unacceptable.”
Final June, the federation requested Serafica to look into the factitious scarcity of sugar allegedly attributable to hoarding, he stated.
“Two months in the past, we requested the SRA to examine the sugar warehouses, however nothing was completed. If the SRA conducts a survey, we are going to decide the actual inventory of sugar within the warehouses. There are many shares in storage,” Lamata stated.
He stated, merchants are ready for the arrival of the sugar cargo earlier than releasing their shares to the native market.
“The merchants will likely be pressured to launch the sugar from the warehouses as a result of they anticipate that the importation will decrease the costs. That’s their technique, however because the President scrapped the importation, they may proceed to hoard their sugar. inventory,” Lamata stated.
He stated native sugar producers “offered all their shares to merchants and the sale of sugar is now as much as them.”
Native producers can even provide the wants of commercial sugar customers, he stated.
“Industrial customers additionally purchase from us. They at all times battle to import as a result of it is cheaper. They can purchase native to make it possible for the native business survives,” he stated.
He stated native sugar producers began their harvest every week in the past, and new shares will arrive in Metro Manila by the tip of the month.
Lamata stated native producers hope to extend their manufacturing this yr to 2 million metric tons (MMT) from 1.8 million MMT final yr.
Primarily based on market monitoring by the DA this Thursday, the retail worth of refined sugar in markets in Metro Manila is between P90 and P100.
Farmers’ group, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura praised the President’s resolution to reject the importation of sugar.
Sinag Government Director Jayson Cainglet stated the SRA and DA should comply with the President’s orders to assist native manufacturing.
Senator Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos urged the President to reshuffle the highest DA officers to dismantle what she stated is a prison syndicate within the company.
Senator Marcos criticized the alleged fraudulent use of the Workplace of the President to justify the importation of sugar whereas praising his “well timed rejection” of the importation plan.
He stated the unauthorized importation of sugar is the “final proof that thick-faced agricultural smugglers are loading it over on the Division of Agriculture.”
“Do not idiot my brother! (Cease attempting to idiot my little brother),” the senator stated in a press release on Thursday.
He additionally referred to as for an investigation into Sebastian and different company officers who had been allegedly concerned in reversing the import ban on swine-based processed animal proteins (PAP) from Italy and different nations affected by African swine fever (ASF).
“Sebastian himself admitted to the medium danger introduced by PAP imports, within the August 5 memorandum he signed to carry the ban,” Marcos stated.
He added that about 1,000 pigs had been culled within the Lazio area of Rome in June to forestall the unfold of ASF. He warned that permitting the entry of porcine PAP into the Philippines may trigger a resurgence of ASF amongst native swine raisers who’re nonetheless recovering from diseased animals.
The native aquaculture business makes use of porcine PAP, constructed from the pores and skin, blood, and bones of pigs, as a less expensive feed to fatten fish and decrease market costs.
However the senator stated that “turning a blind eye to the potential reintroduction of ASF favors one agricultural sector on the expense of one other.”
Native sugar producers advised his workplace that the value of sugar rose to P100 per kilo as a result of imports had been cornered by main producers of sugar merchandise, with the complicity of DA officers, and “in thus, not reaching peculiar customers.”