Agri group decries alleged corruption in SRA sugar import order

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2022 03:52 PM

 Vendors sell sugar by the kilo at the Bagong Silang public market in North Caloocan on Aug. 11, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Vendors sell sugar by the kilo at the Bagong Silang public market in North Caloocan on Aug. 11, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — An agricultural group on Friday decried alleged corruption in the Sugar Regulatory Administration following an unauthorized order for the importation of sugar.

In an interview with ANC's "Headstart," Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura President Rosendo So said heads should roll within the SRA board.

"We see some corruption within the department. The volume is so much. [It's] 3 times the volume they are saying that ito 'yung kulang," he said.

So said the agency earlier claimed the country only needs to import 100,000 MT of sugar to address the shortfall.

The agency should have also consulted local producers with its plan, he added.

"Dapat kausapain ang local producers kung ilan ba talaga ang kaya at ilan ang balanse. 'Yun ang ipasok para at least hindi naman malugi ang ating local producers," So said.

Sinag also doesn't believe SRA's basis for importing more sugar is due to the effects of Typhoon Odette.

"'Yung reasoning nila mukhang hindi din ganun katama," So said, adding the country is regularly struck by storms.

He said the soaring prices of fertilizers could be affecting the country's sugar output.

Earlier this month, the SRA said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had authorized the importation of sugar as the price of the commodity hit P100 per kilo in wet markets.

The SRA’s Sugar Order No. 4, even showed Marcos’ signature authorizing the importation of not more than 300,000 metric tons of sugar to "address the current sugar situation and its increasing prices."

This comes as the price of refined sugar reached over P100 per kilo in some supermarkets, while washed sugar costs around P60/kg to P70/kg amid supply constraints.

Malacañang has said Marcos did not authorize the importation and an investigation is underway to determine whether the SRA resolution was approved with "malice or negligence."

The SRA has yet to respond to Sinag's claim.

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