Give us time to act on HFCS issue – SRA

ATTY. Archie Baribar (left photo), Kilusang Magbubukid spokesman, lead a rally of agrarian reform beneficiaries and sugar workers in front of the Sugar Regulatory Administration Office on Feb. 3, 2017 to call for a stop to the importation of High Fructose Corn Syrup. (Dolly Yasa)

BACOLOD City – Sugar Regulatory Administrator (SRA) Anna Rosario Paner on Feb. 3 2017 asked sugar industry stakeholders for time before the agency can act on the issue of importation of High Fructuous Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Paner issued the statement in a press conference after she met with Kilusang Magbubukid spokesman, lawyer Archie Baribar who led agrarian reform beneficiaries and sugarcane workers in a rally held in front of SRA and a beverage bottling plant in Mansilingan here.

Baribar also handed to Paner the position paper of the sugar industry stakeholders against HFCS importation.

“We are going through the process of consultation with various stakeholders and last week we have received some requests if they can allow some other position papers or comments to come in. As soon as they  are prepared with it, we can welcome those comment,” Paner added.

The SRA official also said that “I am pleased to have received the manifesto of KP (Kilusang Magbubukid) and I assure Baribar that I will personally bring this up to our secretary as well as to the President as soon as I get back to Manila.”

“Given that we are in the series of process and consultation, may I ask for understanding from Baribar and the rest of stakeholders to allow your Sugar Board to have even few weeks to deliberate on the matter. Because it will be an important milestone for the sugar industry.”

She added that the Sugar Board will be meeting middle of February in Ormoc, Leyte.

As to her position on the clamor of the sugar industry, Paner said she will defer it to the board.

“I am just one of the four, DA chairs the board. I don’t think I can commit the other members to any petition,” Paner said.

She also said that Executive Order No. 18, the Sugar Industry Development Act and other special laws should be enough guidance for SRA.

As to the prices of sugar, Paner said it is more seasonal if their records are to be believed.

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