About 27 multi-sectoral organizations in Negros Occidental condemned government officials who support the move to liberalize sugar importation and warned them to immediately cease and desist or they will be tagged as persona-non-grata by their groups in the province.
The leaders of the organizations in their statement of solidarity, opposed the sugar import deregulation move as they tore up a streamer with thewords “Proposed Sugar Import Liberalization”, in a restaurant in Bacolod City yesterday.
In a press conference led by the Solidarity of Workers in the Sugar Industry and Save the Sugar Industry Movement, convenor Wennie Sancho said that the government officials who are pushing for the proposal should stop what they are doing.
“They should cease and desistfrom any attempts to push through with the sugar import liberalization. If they will not stop, labor groups of Negros will declare them as persona-non-grata,” Sancho said.
On Wednesday, 10 senators signed a resolution to urge the executive department not to pursue the planned liberalization of sugar to safeguard the economy. However, Sancho said they are still vigilant.
He said that it must be the executive branch that should assure that it will not pursue the plan. Until then, they will continue with their call to oppose the move.
The statement of solidarity said that it is unfortunate that government economic managers have a misconceptionof the real problems in the sugar industry and who are causing them.
“Any decision in favor of the sugar import liberalization would be a dreadful blow to the sugar industry and its stakeholders. A solution for this problem should be made, for the greatest good of the greatest number of people,” it said.
It also said that unrestricted importation would mean that the workers’ hopes and dreams will die together with the sugar industry.
“We should look upon this opposition as a crusade to defend the livelihood and continued employment of the marginalized farmers-producers and workers, including their families,” it said, adding “Whatever aspirations we may have to live a life with dignity and in frugal comfort will be lost, broken, and blasted beyond recall.”
Sancho said they will bring this statement to Sugar Regulatory Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica during the sugar summit next week.*
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