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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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Bogo joins call versus
sugar deregulation

 

Bogo City in Cebu province manifested its support for the sugar industry and registered its opposition to the proposed liberalization of sugar imports, which is being proposed by the country’s economic managers, a press release from the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters said yesterday.

Through Resolution No. 204-2019, the Bogo Sangguniang Panlungsod, headed by Vice-Mayor Maria Cielo Martinez, noted that there are numerous sugarcane farmers in the city, and it finds a need to support its domestic sugar industry.

Import liberalization of sugar can cause adverse effect, which could lead to economic displacement of stakeholders, small farmers, and sugar farm workers, the resolution, passed on October 22 with Councilor Romeo Alarde Jr. as presiding officer, and approved by Mayor Carlo Jose Martinez, stated.

“Farmers, workers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, and other sugar industry stakeholders have been opposing the sugar import liberalization proposal of the government, particularly the Department of Finance, considering that the import scheme will result to the collapse of the sugar industry, affecting millions of people dependent on it,” the resolution added.

Bogo City forms part of the sugar basin of Cebu province. It is adjacent to the town of Medellin, that hosts the Bogo-Medellin Sugar Milling Company, the only sugar mill which caters to the milling needs of sugarcane farmers in practically the whole northern half of the island, from Danao City to Daanbantayan up north, the press release said.

The Philippine sugar industry benefits not only the farmers, millers, and workers but also the downstream industries, like fertilizer suppliers, transport and farm equipment manufacturers, spare parts and tire suppliers, technology providers and numerous other industry service providers, Jose Mari Miranda, head of the Bogo-Medellin Sugarcane Planters Association, said.

Compared to banana and pineapple plantations in Mindanao, whose profits go directly to multinational corporations in other countries, the sugar industry’s profits trickle down from the farmers and workers all the way to the sari-sari stores in every village of the 28 sugar-producing provinces in the country, he added.

Solons and officials of local government units from sugar-producing provinces in the country have expressed their strong opposition to the proposed sugar deregulation, the press release said.

Enrique Rojas, president of the NFSP, to which the Bogo-Medellin Sugarcane Planters Association is affiliated, said, “Under the umbrella of Tatak Kalamay, we are trying to make Pres. Rodrigo Duterte realize that the proposed sugar deregulation will result to a slowdown in the economy and will lead to social unrest in the countryside.”

“Import deregulation will kill the local sugar industry, causing massive losses in employment and taxes, not only in Negros but also in many other parts of the country,” Rojas stressed.*

 

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