BACOLOD CITY — Sugar industry leaders in Negros Occidental, the country’s top sugar producer, have expressed hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will reconsider his plan to abolish the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) amid reports of corruption in the agency.
Manuel Lamata, president of United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc., said he prays that the President gets enlightened by the situation.
Lamata added the abolition of SRA will spell disaster for the sugar industry. He said the President should fire the guilty, but not abolish the agency that has been doing its job.
Lamata’s sentiment was echoed by Enrique Rojas, president of National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, who said he hopes the President will reconsider his statement and allow SRA to continue.
He added the SRA should remain, especially at this time that the sugar industry is facing a multitude of problems.
If the President is not satisfied with the performance of the immediate past administrator, it is not the fault of the entire agency, Rojas said, adding that for more than 30 years, the SRA has protected the interest of consumers and promoted the welfare of sugar producers.
If the SRA leadership has committed any wrongdoing, the President should let the axe fall where it may, but he should spare the whole organization, he added.
Former SRA head Rafael Coscolluela said he believes the outright abolition of SRA at this time is too drastic and untimely.
Coscolluela, a former governor of Negros Occidental, added the President’s pronouncement will create a lot of uncertainty, and not a good way to start the new milling season.
Last Saturday, the President, who spoke before business executives at the 26th Mindanao Business Conference and Expo in Cagayan de Oro City, raised the questionable practices of the SRA. He said the present management hired the services of an overpaid consultant.