Rep. Francisco “Kiko” Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said yesterday he will push the House of Representatives to also pass a resolution opposing the proposed deregulation of sugar importation.
Benitez noted that the Senate Monday had unanimously approved a resolution urging the executive department to halt its planned liberalization of the country’s sugar industry.
He pointed out that on October 3 members of sugar bloc in the Lower House, including those from Negros Island, had filed Resolution 412 opposing the planned sugar import liberalization.
The resolution said the unregulated entry of subsidized imported sugar will be disastrous to the Philippine sugar industry which contributes an estimated P96 billion to the Gross Domestic Product, specifically to 84,000 sugar farmers and 720,000 industry workers across 28 provinces.
It stressed the need for the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to continue to regulate the supply of sugar in the country.
A similar resolution was also filed by the Makabayan bloc, Benitez said.
It’s a unique situation where you have people with traditionally opposing ideological platforms uniting in saying no to import liberalization to safeguard the country’s sugar industry, he said.
Benitez said he hopes the House, like the Senate, approves the resolutions of the sugar and Makabayan blocs.
The House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture is also set to conduct an inquiry into the plight of the sugar industry, including the failure of the SRA to fully implement the Sugar Industry Development Act.
Benitez said he expects the hearings to begin in about two weeks, and he has asked that one session be held in Negros Occidental.*
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