Sugar import liberalization needs careful, deeper study

BACOLOD City – Incumbent Ilocos Norte Governor and senatorial-candidate Maria Imelda “Imee” Marcos said the proposed sugar import liberalization needs careful study.

Marcos, who was also campaigning in Victorias City last Friday, said sugar traders are getting too much profits even though the current price of sugar in Negros is cheap at P1,400 per bag only.

“Once it arrives in Manila, the sugar per kilo is sold at P55 to P60, it means the traders are earning more than double,” Marcos said.

The senatorial-candidate also said safeguards should be introduced as the sugar industry has been facing problems ever since during the time of his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Earlier on Friday, Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III has also made a similar statement, saying lawmakers have to slow down over the proposed sugar import liberalization.

The senator said the situation with rice tariffication is very different from the proposed sugar liberalization.

“Rice is food stuff, you cannot avoid it because it’s the staple food [of] the Filipino,” Pimentel said.

The former senate president said, even though sugar is also considered food, it is not a staple food. He added, it is not just an agricultural product but an industrial product.

“We should not blindly follow that for sugar because the situation is very different,” Pimentel added.

The incumbent senator is one of the signatories on Senate Resolution No. 1014, which opposes the proposed liberalization of the sugar industry.

The Solidarity of Workers in the Sugar Industry recently held a press conference to demonstrate against RA 11203, or the “rice tariffication law.”

The group drew a parallel between claims a liberalization on sugar imports would kill the domestic sugar industry suggesting the same outcome for the rice industry with the passage of the said law.

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