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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Senate move temporary reprieve?


Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson reminded sugar industry stakeholders yesterday to remain vigilant, as the Senate resolution urging the executive department to halt its planned liberalization of the sugar industry may only be temporary reprieve.

“I understand that because of the support of the Senate, the sugar import liberalization will not push through, but we have to be vigilant because I understand we may have only been given a seven to one year grace period,” he said.

That is why we need to continue the campaign against sugar import liberalization, Lacson said.

He said the reported move of the president to stop the importation of rice might enlighten the country’s economic managers on the plight of the sugar industry, as well.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo yesterday denied the reports that the President ordered the suspension of rice importation amid farmers' woes resulting from the Rice Tariffication Law.

President Rodrigo Duterte did not order Agriculture Secretary William Dar to implement any suspension of rice importation, he said.

The Senate last week approved Resolution 213 urging the executive department not to pursue the planned liberalization of the sugar industry to safeguard the welfare of 84,000 farmers and more than 700,000 industry workers in over 20 provinces across the country.

The senators warned that the deregulated entry of subsidized sugar into the Philippine market will be disastrous to the country’s sugar industry, that contributes an estimated P95 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.*


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