BACOLOD City – The Save the Sugar Industry Movement (SAVE-SIM) lauded Senators Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Paolo Benigno Aquino III, and Rep. Alfredo Benitez (3rd district Negros Occ) for defending the plight of sugar workers during the senate hearing on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) importation last Apr 18, 2017.
In a text message, SAVE-SIM lead convenor Wennie Sancho said it was officially concluded by Zubiri that Sugar Order No.3 issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) will remain valid.
But Sancho said that unless there is an official pronouncement from Coca-cola FEMSA Philippines that they will stop the importation of HFCS, their campaign of boycotting all Coke products will continue.
The group is also considering lifting agriculture secretary Manny Piñol’s status of persona non-grata as a sign of goodwill and compliance to the request of Zubiri and after Piñol himself declared he will fully support the sugar industry.
“If Piñol is sincere, let us make bridges not walls,” Sancho added.
Senator Cynthia Villar, Senate Committee on Agriculture chair, said she is pushing for a settlement of the issues hounding the industry, with the committee agreeing on the creation of a sugar industry consultative committee.
Representatives of beverage firms who attended the hearing also agreed to recognize Sugar Order No.3, which aims to regulate the importation of HFCS in the country.