MANILA — The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is looking into the possibility of selling smuggled sugar in supermarkets too, its acting administrator said on Wednesday.
Pablo Luis Azcona said they were "finalizing" plans to initially sell 4,000 metric tons of smuggled sugar in the middle or by the end of this month in Kadiwa stalls and in proposed Kadiwa kiosks in supermarkets.
"Big supermarket chains signified that they want to volunteer a space, libre ito, magbibigay sila ng shared space na talagang maging Kadiwa outlet siya," said Azcona in a public briefing.
"We will not only sell this there but also other commodities as well. Yung legality nito will be studied before we actually do it. Yung umpisa talaga is doon tayo sa mga palengke," he added.
The new SRA chief said his agency and the Department of Agriculture plan to sell these smuggled sugar at P70.
Another 6,000 metric tons of smuggled sugar will be released "once it's proven safe and approved for sale and for donation" in Kadiwa stalls.
"Sa ngayon, continuing yung studies noon. It has to be Kadiwa shelf kasi. So 'yung supermarket and grocery will just give us a space, maraming pumasok na nag-volunteer," he added.
Azcona said the SRA and other agencies were ramping up intelligence and anti-smuggling efforts to prevent the entry of smuggled sugar and other commodities.
President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. earlier approved selling seized smuggled sugar, which could be given to government agencies as "donation", the Presidential Communications Office had said.
The SRA plans to distribute the 440,000 sugar imports ahead of the start of sugar harvests or before September, the official said.
Azcona, who was a representative of the sugar planters at the SRA before being appointed to his new post, said this move would protect farmers.
Out of the 440,000 metric tons, he said 180,000 metric tons have already arrived in the country.
"[Nasa] 116,000 na ang na-convert for domestic use na puwede nang lumabas sa market natin," he said.
"We will try to release as much as we can of the imported sugar to the market hopefully to lower the retail price kasi mas mura si imported. Magmi-mix siya sa local produce natin na mas marami, it will surely push down the prices," he said.
In an interview on ANC earlier in the day, Azcona assured the public there is no supply shortage and they are working to lower the commodity's price to P85 per kilo.
Video from PTV