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ZUBIRI: LESS GOV’T RESTRICTIONS ON SUGAR IMPORT

Senate President Migz Zubiri said sugar industry stakeholders must be allowed to import supplies of the commodity on their own to end suspicions of “tong-pats,” or price-padding scheme.

Zubiri made the recommendation as the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, or the Blue Ribbon Committee wrapped up its inquiry on the fiasco involving the import order released by Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

“There should be less intervention from the government on importation, and end-users should instead be authorized to source their sugar supply based on their needs.”

There should be less intervention from the government on importation, and end-users should instead be authorized to source their sugar supply based on their needs, the veteran legislator said.

“Kung pwede, wala nang masyadong government intervention. Kung pwede po, ‘yong importation, ibigay na lang directly sa ating mga high-demand,” the seasoned lawmaker suggested.

The Senate President said SRA Acting Administrator David John Thaddeus Alba, as well as sugar millers and farmers, agreed to his proposal in a recent meeting.

“Kung hindi natin ginawa ‘yan, there will always be questions of corruption in the agency.”

“Para sa ganoon, wala nang isyung tong-pats. Kasi kung hindi natin ginawa ‘yan, there will always be questions of corruption in the agency,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Zubiri lauded Blue Ribbon Committee chairman, Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino, for swiftly acting on his call to investigate the SRA’s release of the Sugar Order No. 4, which Malacañang said was unauthorized by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who concurrently heads the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The order would have permitted the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar.

Last August 16, Zubiri delivered a privilege speech baring that unscrupulous individuals earn as much as P600 million in kickbacks from the delivery of sugar into the country.

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