No resignation from SRA yet – Alba; Sugars leaders react to Hontiveros

Administrator David John Thaddeus Alba told reporters on Wednesday, March 22, that he has not resigned from the Sugar Regulatory Administration yet.

Sugar industry sources on Tuesday said he had submitted his resignation but President Ferdinand Marcos, concurrent agriculture secretary, has yet to act on it.

Alba gave a brief response to reporters but they did not have a chance to ask about his allegedly having submitted his resignation letter earlier.

Meanwhile, sugar industry leaders had mixed reactions to Senator Risa Hontiveros claim that three sugar traders “handpicked” by Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban to import 440,000 metric tons of sugar into the country may “outrageously” rake in billions of pesos in “super profits”.

“|It’s understandable that businessmen make a profit on their transactions. But when such transaction was secured through favoritism, then it is unfair to other traders. And when such profit is too high and was secured through questionable means, then it is grossly unfair to all consumers and other traders,” Enrique Rojas, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters president, said.

Manuel Lamata, United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines president, said he does not believe the numbers of Hontiveros.

He has no problem with the three traders “because we are farmers not traders or importers. What is important to us farmers is these three traders are buying sugar from us at above P3,300 per bag. That is what is important,” he said.

Lamata said he has no idea what direction Alba is taking.

Rojas said they praise Alba’s decision if he resigns “because he reasonably feels that he is simply being manipulated to commit acts or omissions which are disadvantageous and grossly damaging to the sugar industry”.*

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