fbpx
Friday, April 19, 2024
- Advertisement -
HomePRESS RELEASEIn Full. Negros solons block liberalization of sugar importation

In Full. Negros solons block liberalization of sugar importation

- Advertisement -

Editors Note: The following is a news release from the publicist of Negros Occidental Third District Representative Jose Francisco ‘Kiko’ Benitez. It is printed in full.

Members of the House of Representatives from Negros Island and other sugar-producing constituencies have united to oppose the liberalization of sugar importation, as proposed by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Rep. Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez of the Third District of Negros Occidental led his colleagues in filing House Resolution No. 1199, expressing strong opposition to Secretary Diokno’s recent statement that food and beverage manufacturers will be allowed to directly import sugar as part of the Department of Finance’s plan to increase the tax rate of sugar-sweetened beverages.

- Advertisement -

Authors of the Resolution are Reps. Joseph Stephen S. Paduano, Greg G. Gasataya, Gerardo P. Valmayor Jr., Alfredo D. Marañon III, Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer, Emilio Bernardino L. Yulo, Mercedes K. Alvarez, Michael B. Gorriceta, Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, and Manuel T. Sagarbarria.

Explaining his position, Congressman Benitez expressed fear that liberalizing sugar importation, without adequate support for our local sugarcane farmers, will weaken the domestic sugar industry.

“Sugar production this year is projected to decrease due to El Niño and our limited milling capacity. But instead of helping our sugar producers, flooding our market with imported sugar will kill our domestic sugar industry,” Congressman Benitez said.

- Advertisement -

“Sugar-exporting countries can sell to us their surplus sugar at prices below production cost because of massive subsidies and protectionist policies. Tayo, ano ang ginagawa natin sa industriya ng kalamay natin?” Congressman Benitez lamented.

The Department of Finance has taxed sweetened beverages through Republic Act No. 10963 or the TRAIN Law. Based on data from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, total tax revenue from sweetened beverages between 2018 and 2022 was 174.5 billion. But only 3.92 billion was allocated for programs for the sugar industry for 2018-2023. This is in spite of the provision of Republic Act No. 10659 or the Sugarcane Industry Development Act that mandates annual allocation of at least two (2) billion pesos for programs to strengthen the sugar industry.

“Instead of assuring us of ploughing back revenues from tax on sweetened beverages to strengthen the sugar industry, Secretary Diokno is offering liberalization of sugar importation,” Congressman Benitez added.

- Advertisement -

“He seems to be supporting liberalization to sweeten the deal with food and beverage manufacturers and counteract additional cost from higher taxes. But what about our sugarcane farmers? What is our deal with them?” the Negros congressman concluded with a rhetorical question. #

- Advertisement -
DNX News Desk
DNX News Desk
Pioneer digital-first news and information source based in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental province. We are committed to providing high-quality journalism to our audience.
RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

- Advertisement -