The Confederation of Sugarcane Planters’ Associations threw its support behind the VICMICO Planters’ Association Inc. on Wednesday, July 28, after Victorias Milling Co. (VMC) terminated its relationship with the group.
CONFED president Raymond Montinola, in a statement of support, said it is inconceivable that a sugar mill would take such drastic action against a long-time partner, representing 1,433 members producing 450,000 net tons of cane per year, without seeking every means possible to resolve the issues raised by the association and their members.
The relationship between the mill and planters’ association has spanned several decades and hurdled many trials along the way, he pointed out.
VMC, as of this writing, had not issued a response to Montinola’s statement.
The VICMICO Planters’ Association’s view is that the victims of VMC’s decision are “the right of every planter to be boldly represented” and “the voice of an association protecting the rights of its planter-members”, Montinola said.
Montinola said for the sake of all concerned, “we can only hope that both parties will find a way to renew their partnership before any permanent damage is done.”
A mutually-beneficial relationship between a sugar mill and the sugarcane producers, represented and serviced by their association, is of utmost importance especially during these challenging times, he said.
A parting of ways cannot be the best recourse under any circumstance, he added.
VMC’s action sends a signal to other associations who question sugar mill policies or practices, complain about a sugar mill’s performance or seek better terms, Montinola said.
“As rightly pointed out by the VICMICO Planters’ Association, they exist to serve the interest of their members. They can do nothing less, and we stand with them 100 percent,” he said.
“We thus urge VMC to treat VICMICO Planters’ Association not as an enemy to be ‘terminated,’ but as a partner to be valued,” Montinola added.
CONFED, of which VICMICO Planters’ Association is a member in good standing, expresses its solidarity with the association and commits to extend any and all possible means to assist and support them for however long it takes, he said.
“We also ask all the member-planters to stand by your association, just as firmly as they have strived to protect your interest at all times,” Montinola said.*