Senator Edgardo Angara and his son, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, assured sugar industry leaders of support for the passage of the Sugarcane Industry Development Act and in the fight against sugar smuggling at a meeting at the Manila Polo Club yesterday.
Leaders of the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines and Sugar Regulatory Administration chief Ma. Regina Bautista Martin met with the Angaras to discuss issues concerning the sugar industry.
Martin provided an update on the country’s sugar production and on block farming.
Also discussed was House Bill No. 6113 or the proposed Sugarcane Industry Development Act authored by Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), SRA mill board representative Jesus “Cocoy” Barrera said.
The industry leaders explained that the bill, specifically the provision on the Sugarcane Industry Development Fund, is crucial as it will provide funds for competitive enhancement and developmental assistance to the sugar industry as it gears for 2015 when its ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement tariff goes down to five percent, Barrera said.
“We’re going to support the bill with some refinements to further enhance it and ensure its passage,” Angara told the DAILY STAR last night.
At the meeting, Angara also gave the sugar leaders inputs on how to fast-track the passage of the Sugarcane Industry Development Act, Martin also said.
Smuggling was also discussed at the meeting, and it was explained that an effective measure to check smuggling is access to the inward foreign manifests by either sugar industry representatives or SRA sugar monitoring personnel, Barrera added.
Enrique Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters Inc., and Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers’ Federation of the Philippines Inc., also presented at length the present problem landowners are experiencing under Joint Administrative Order No. 22 of the Department of Agrarian Reform and Land Registration Authority.
The order allows the LRA and the Register of Deeds to annotate land titles with notices of CARP coverage without proper due process, they said.
Also discussed was the Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill and its impact on the development of commercial cogeneration, Barrera said.
An amendment to the Food Fortification Law and a grant for the development of SRA’s Research and Development capabilities, under the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which has been pending approval with the National Economic Development Authority, were also raised at the meeting.
The SAP will follow up with the Angaras their promise of support for the industry concerns raised at the meeting, Barrera added.*CPG