Community Whispers by Ray Junia
Community Whispers

What sugar importations again?

Jan 31, 2023, 1:33 AM
Ray L. Junia

Ray L. Junia


The government is planning to import again—which it detested under the old Sugar Regulatory Administration before-- of 450,000 metric tons because of alleged short production of sugar mills.

If I remember correctly, the chairman and two board members of SRA and Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian got booted out because of the controversial order authorizing the importation of 350,000 metric tons, but which later was shipped into the country in batches first of 180,000 metric tons and then later another 250,000 metric tons, by the subsequent SRA board that President Marcos appointed.

Now, we will again be importing 450,000 metric tons? I can’t understand their logic. And why are they so het up about importing all our food items—clearly at the expense of our farmers. It is becoming obvious to me that a cartel has been operating in agriculture and it controls the supply and demand of our food items. It also calls the shots about importation. So who is on the take then?

I read an item on Twitter by a Macario Sakay recently that former National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos was on her way to President Marcos to report the operation of an agriculture cartel—said to be close to him—that controls the supplies of food products and even creates a shortage so that importations become inevitable. Instead of listening to her, she got booted out. Now you know why he does not like to divest himself of the DA position. Easy money to be had for his chosen friends and relatives(?).

And going by the President’s words, yes as "President, I can order them to stop." He holds them by the purse strings.

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The DA is in such a mess, nothing seems to have been produced and marketed rightly in that domain. Now we are facing sky high prices of eggs—the most basic item that a poor family can share among themselves for lunch or dinner (boiled or fried) and yet this thing is becoming increasingly unaffordable to them.

What would be left for their table then? In the war days, the old people said they survived on rice or kamote and salt. But salt is also in short supply. So what is it that we have enough of. NOTHING. We can’t eat NOTHING.

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Our columnist wrote that she felt like a millionaire when a close family friend brought to her house on Friday loads of veggies, and onions (the most sought-after and dearest cooking ingredient) from La Trinidad in Benguet.

She came from a weeklong conference and all of the attendees from Manila rushed to Baguio markets and her family friend was brought to La Trinidad the source of all veggies, where she and her companions bought a van-full of veggies from the uplands.

And they were priced at 100 to 200 times less than their market values in the National Capital Center. If there is so much veggies up there, why can’t government step in and bring down those items to Metro Manila, where people are starving for nutrition and the people in the uplands are starving for money.

What are all the trucks of MMDA, DPWH and the military and police doing here? Why not mobilize all of them and buy those stocks in the uplands so that everybody will be happy—farmers can sell their produce directly and get what is due them, and the consumers can buy affordable and nutritious food items.

Just a little brain power please.

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