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DA executive: Importing sugar will help control inflation.

According to a senior Agriculture official on Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is importing about 450,000 metric tons of sugar to control inflation and create a reserve that would fully satisfy the nation’s sugar needs.

Domingo Panganiban, the senior undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture, claimed during a news conference at Malacaan Palace that they responded to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

According to Panganiban, “I acted quickly and interpreted the memorandum issued by the Office of the Executive Secretary as an approval to proceed with the importation in response to the President’s directive to address inflation and create a buffer stock and given that sugar is one of the components of most commodities that drives the consistently high inflation rate.

With regard to the urgency of the situation, Panganiban said, “I instructed three competent and accredited companies to proceed with the importation of sugar, provided that they agree to reduce the price of sugar, sell the commodity at a price that is commercially acceptable in the market, and that they will shoulder the cost of warehousing.

The DA was instructed to carry out its recommendations to President Marcos, who doubles as the Agriculture Secretary, regarding the second sugar importation program for the crop year 2022–2023, in a communication from the Office of the Executive Secretary dated January 13, 2023.

A total of 350 metric tons of sugar “must be made available to the domestic market or otherwise designated,” according to the memorandum, which was signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin. Around 100,00 metric tons of sugar “will be automatically classed as ‘B’ or Domestic Sugar.”

“With respect to the foregoing, the DA is hereby directed to implement the foregoing recommendations, subject to compliance with Republic Act No. 10659 or the “Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015,” its Implementing Rules and Regulations, and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations, to ensure adequate supply of sugar in domestic markets, reduce prices, and manage inflation.

Panganiban claimed that he chose three sugar importers from the provided list because they are “the most capable importers that we have.”

He said that when the imported sugar was delivered to the nation on February 9, President Marcos “was fully informed.”

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