MANILA—PDP-LABAN standard bearer Rodrigo Duterte pledged to revive and subsidize the Philippine sugar industry if he wins the presidency in the May 9 elections.
He made this promise Wednesday during his campaign sortie in Bacolod City.
A crowd, consisting mostly of sugar industry dependents, cheered him upon hearing this promise.
He also said that he will relax and liberalize credit and financing facilities for small farmers to be able to contribute to national productivity.
Bacolod City is the capital of Negros Occidental, known as the “sugar bowl” of the Philippines being the country’s leading producer of sugar.
The National Statistical Coordinating Board said sugar remains to be the main product of the province with about 56 percent of its total land area of 7,926 square kilometers planted to sugarcane.
Annually, the agency said, the province is producing 800,000 metric tons of raw sugar.
“We can improve this production as we are hopeful that through the government’s intervention under my administration, we will revive the glory of the sugar industry of the province,” Duterte said.
Last year, the Sugarcane Industry Development Act was passed. Duterte said he make sure that the law is implemented according to its objectives.
Once fully implemented, the law will increase the competitiveness of the industry, improve the incomes of the farmers and farm workers through improved productivity, product diversification, job generation and increased efficiency of sugar mills.
In the Visayas, Negros and Panay are the two major sugar producing provinces. Sugar Regulatory Administration data in 2005 showed that Luzon comprised 18 percent of the total production areas with six milling districts, while Mindanao comprise of 20 percent from the sugarcane producing provinces of Bukidnon, Davao Del Sur, and North Cotabato.
As of 2011, the Philippine Exporters Confederation said the total land area planted to sugarcane in the Philippines reached 383,000 hectares.