The Philippines could allocate all sugar produced in the next crop year for local use, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Acting SRA Administrator David Alba said “The Sugar Board was recently convened by Chairman Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and we have been instructed to immediately propose the Sugar Ordinance n ° 1 concerning the allocation of sugar”.

The Sugar Board is the governing body of the SRA. It is chaired by Marcos, who simultaneously sits as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Alba said the Sugar Council has recommended that all sugar in the 2022-23 campaign be classified as “B” sugar or domestic sugar.

The country’s sugar campaign begins every September and ends in August of the following year.

Meanwhile, the SRA classifies and divides the sugar produced into “A” for US quota, “B” for domestic consumption, “C” for reserve and “D” for world market.

“There will be no allocation for the US quota,” Alba said.

Under an agreement with the World Trade Organization, the United States has agreed to import sugar from sugar-producing countries, such as the Philippines, at lower tariffs and in certain quantities.

For the Philippines, the United States Department of Agriculture has an allocation of 145,235 tonnes of sugar for its 2023 crop year or from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.

Alba said the proposed No. 1 Sugar Ordinance for the 2022-2023 crop year “will, of course, be subject to extensive consultation with all industry stakeholders.”

“We have also proposed Sugar Order No. 2 which recommends the import of 150,000 metric tons of refined sugar,” he said.

“Although in principle it has been approved, we have yet to work out the mechanisms covering this order also after consultations,” he added.

Publicist Trixie Cruz-Angeles confirmed earlier that the proposed amount of sugar that will be imported is 150,000 metric tons.

Sugar is in the spotlight following the controversial issuance of Sugar Ordinance No. 4 (SO4), authorizing the import of 300,000 metric tons of sugar which was later deemed ‘illegal’ as it was signed without the knowledge and approval of Marcos.

Signatories to the controversial order, including Undersecretary of Agriculture Leocadio Sebastian, board member Atty. Roland Beltran and Hermenegildo Serafica, administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, resigned from their positions.

Marcos previously rejected a proposal to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar despite rising commodity prices due to supply constraints.

The DA earlier said there was a shortage of around 300,000 metric tonnes of sugar as local production was affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Odette late last year. —KG, GMA News

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