Rowena Guanzon, the outspoken former commissioner of the Commission on Elections, called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to decide on how much sugar to import this year based on actual data of local production.
Marcos should not make decisions based on knee jerk reactions to information whispered to him by some people, the Sugar Regulatory Administration should give accurate and reliable data on the exact amount of sugar shortage expected and how much do they plan to import, Guanzon said Tuesday, January 25.
She also asked what made it wrong for the previous Sugar Regulatory Administration board members to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar last year, and right for the Department of Agriculture (DA) to now decide to do the same thing.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigated former Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, and SRA Board Members Aurelio Valderrama and Roland Beltran for the issuance of Sugar Order No. 4 in August last year for the importation of 300,000 MT of sugar and recommended that charges be filed against them, she pointed out.
However, the Office of the President cleared them of the supposed illegal issuance of Sugar Order No. 4, she noted.
Now they are proposing to import as much as 450,000 MT of sugar.
Guanzon said the president should keep a close watch to ensure that no one makes a profit from the new importation.
The president is the chairman of the SRA and the secretary of the Department of Agriculture, “he cannot pass the buck, and he must come up with a satisfactory solution. In other countries if the Cabinet secretary fails, he has to resign,” she said.
Guanzon noted that aside from the sugar problem, the Filipino people have also had to face exorbitant prices of onions.
The president should ensure that the hoarders and cartel manipulating prices are caught, she added.
“All he said was we’ll get to the bottom of this, so where is it. Where is the bottom of this Mr. President because we are still waiting because we want heads to roll,” Guanzon said.
Now they are also manipulating the price of eggs, she added.*