With his oversight of power over the sugar industry, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee will ask the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to inform lawmakers about the volumes and prices of sugar imports.
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Joey Sarte Salceda said the briefing is intended to prevent the country from running out of sugar.
“From my point, what I can do as president of Ways and Means is for customs to inform me of import volumes and prices and supervise the development activities of the sugar industry under the TRAIN. [Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion] Law, ”Salceda told BusinessMirror.
Salceda said Congress will seek to meet sugar stakeholders as soon as committee members are organized.
“As soon as we have enough quorum members, as we are still appointing all members, we will organize the committee and meet with interested parties. Hopefully this will happen within the next two or three weeks. “
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said it will start nationwide sugar inventory this month amid concerns the Philippines will run out of sweetener soon.
In the Circular (CL) no. 32, the administrator of the OIC SRA Hermenegildo R. Serafica said that the physical inventory to be conducted in all sugar factories and refineries operating nationwide is part of the SRA’s efforts to assess the country’s sugar production in the harvest year (CY) 2021-2022.
Additionally, Agriculture Undersecretary-designate Kristine Y. Evangelista said the district attorney and the SRA will meet with industry stakeholders on Aug.3 to determine the additional volume of sugar needed for the country’s proposed second import program.
Salceda has proposed a five-point mitigation agenda to prevent the country from running out of sugar.
He said the executive branch can immediately undertake the proposed “five-point plan” to mitigate supply problems, unless imports are increased.
Salceda said the National Biofuels Board (NBB) should zero out the supply of sugar biofuel additives required by petroleum products and redirect demand to other sources such as jathropa, cassava and others.
“Secondly, we are asking producers of denatured alcohol and other sugarcane-based non-food products to switch to other sources. I think the Department of Science and Technology will be very important in this regard ”.
Once face-to-face classes resume, Salceda said the government should limit sugary drinks in schools to reduce consumption of non-essential and unhealthy sugar.
Salceda said the president can instruct the sugar regulatory administration, department of agriculture, and local government units covering sugar districts to evaluate and optimize processes in the sugar value chain, from harvest to milling until refining.
Fifth, PBBM can validate and investigate possible sugar hoarding by traders. Some local planters have pointed out that there should be no sugar shortage, “she said.