MERGE DEVOTEES. Catholics reach out to touch the image of the Black Nazarene in front of the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City yesterday.* (Ronnie Baldonado photo)

SRA chief questioned
but denies import pact

Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) denied yesterday that he entered into an agreement with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez that set a benchmark price for sugar importation.

SRA Board Members Dino Yulo and Roland Beltran, in a press statement yesterday, said they would like to issue a disclaimer on the reported agreement between Lopez and Serafica that “in principle” domestic food processors and other end-users should be allowed to import sugar if the price of locally produced sugar cannot match the P1,900 per bag of imported sugar.

“Arriving at a benchmark price without consultation with stakeholders is disastrous and Administrator Serafica must not attribute such agreement to SRA as we have not been consulted about the matter, much less our constituency”, they said. moremoremore

Duterte okays pay
hike for gov’t workers

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the much-awaited fifth round of salary increases for 1.4 million government workers, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said another pay hike in government has the "strong support" of the President, whose desire is to "upgrade the standard of living of government employees."

"And this measure will rationalize the compensation of all civilian personnel, including those in the legislative and judicial branches, as well as of local government units under certain conditions," he said. moremoremore


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Wanted: The Dove of Peace
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Neg. Occ. urging neighboring
provinces to extend pork ban

Negros Occidental is urging its neighboring provinces to extend the temporary ban on the entry of pork and pork products to their localities, Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said yesterday.

He said the temporary ban of the neighboring localities in Western and Central Visayas has already ended, and the border security of the province will be at risk.

“With the lax of security on the part of the other provinces, we have to increase our border patrols. We have to increase vigilance and strictly implement our pork ban ordinance, especially in the local government units,” he said.