February 29, 2024

The government is seriously looking into the proposal to allow food manufacturers to directly import sugar, Malacañang said.

Press Sec. Trixie Cruz-Angeles said there is no final decision yet on the planned direct sugar importation by big food and beverage firms.

“We will announce if it is already final. It is a proposal and seriously being considered,” Cruz-Angeles said.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. earlier said the government is eyeing the direct importation of local good manufacturers as part of “emergency measures” to address the sugar supply shortage.

The plan needs the approval of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), currently headed by Marcos.

Cruz-Angeles said the inspection of warehouses will continue to determine if hoarders are creating an artificial shortage of sugar.

Tuluy-tuloy kasi ‘yung operasyon natin dito sa pag-inspect sa mga warehouse, so we can get to the bottom of what appears to be an artificial shortage. Whether or not it is artificial will depend on the evidence produced by these warehouse operations,” she said.

Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez earlier said his office is investigating reports that certain sugar traders are aggressively pushing for the importation of 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar to use it as a cover to release their hoarded sugar.

Rodriguez, upon the directive of Marcos, also ordered law enforcement authorities to visit and inspect all Customs-bonded warehouses to check on the inventory of imported agricultural products.

Marcos earlier rejected the SRA proposal to import 300,000 MT of sugar. The DA is already drafting a proposal to import 150,000 MT of sugar, seen to raise the supply of sugar used in food manufacturing. – PNA