2 SRA execs resign after controversy erupts around Sugar Order no. 4 which Palace says PBBM did not approve
(Eagle News) – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., said he is amenable to the importation of at least 150,000 tons of sugar by October if stocks are not enough.
In his vlog on Sunday, August 14, the President said the government could import a fair amount of sugar by October at 150,000 metric tons, or half of the 300,000 metric tons recommended to be imported in the now controversial order no. 4 of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
“Nakita ko naman na may sapat na supply na nandito na sa Plipinas. Bakit hindi natin unahin yan, at yan ay galing dito sa Pilipinas,” Marcos Jr., said addressing the issue of sugar importation.
-Importing 300,000 tons of sugar is too much, says PBBM-
He said that there are still enough supplies of sugar stored in warehouses that had been inventoried. These were part of previous sugar importations.
“So sabi ko, bago tayo mag-import ng asukal, ubusin na muna natin ang supply dito,” he said.
“Maaari bandang Oktubre, baka yung supply na nandito sa Pilipinas ay paubos na, baka sakali kailangan nating mag-import. Pero kakaunti lang. Hindi kasingdami ng kanilang sinasabi dati na 300,000 tons,” Marcos explained.
“Siguro malaki na yung 150,000 tons para sa buong taong ito. Kaya sa aking palagay, nabawasan nating mabuti ang importation ng sugar,” he added.
-Prices of sugar skyrocket-
This came about as prices of sugar have skyrocketed recently, to the point that the price of refined sugar reached as much as P115 per kilo as of the latest data from the SRA last August 5. About 10 months ago, it was just priced at around P60 per kilo.
-Press Sec. claims SRA order “illegal”-
Palace spokesperson and Press Secretary Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles claimed the SRA Order No. 4 was “illegal” and was not authorized by the President.
“This Resolution is illegal. The Chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board is President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. As such chairman, he sets the date of any meetings or convening of the Sugar Regulatory Board and its agenda. No such meeting was authorized by the President or such a resolution likewise, was not authorized,” she said in a briefing on August 11.
“It appears that the Resolution was signed for and on behalf of the President by Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian. He was not authorized to sign such a resolution because the President did not authorize the importation,” she said.
Sebastian resigned from his post after the Palace press briefing. His resignation letter was dated August 11.
Another agriculture official, Atty. Roland Beltran, a member of the Sugar Regulatory Board, also submitted a letter of resignation to Malacanang dated August 14. He was also one of the signatories of the SRA Order no. 4. But he said his vote was “conditional subject to compliance of the provisions of laws, rules and regulations and the internal processes of SRA.”
Beltran said he tendered his resignation “without prejudice to any investigation that may be conducted in connection with the issuance of Sugar Order No. 4 s. 2022-2023.”
(Eagle News Service)