THE UNYON ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) called on all Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) officials who signed a resolution to import sugar without the approval of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to resign from their posts, just like what Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian just did.
According to UMA spokesperson John Milton “Butch” Lozande, this is to ensure that they would not influence the ongoing investigation of the mess that they created and out of delicadeza.
Aside from Sebastian, the resolution was also signed by SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica as vice chairman of the SRA board; Roland B. Beltran, the millers’ representative to the board; and Aurelio Gerardo J. Valderrama Jr., the planters’ representative.
At the same time, UMA is reiterating its earlier call to the President that Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez, who issued a “verbal” order to the DA to create an importation plan, should also be investigated for the mess.
Other than that, it should dismantle the cartel in the sugar industry and punish government officials linked to it, especially those belonging to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The President, who has not yet issued any statements on the high prices of sugar, should also restrain middlemen from overpricing its price, and the government should also directly intervene in its pricing and marketing.
In the long run though, Ka Butch concluded that there should be a genuine agrarian reform to fully dismantle haciendas and distribute them freely to sugar field workers and poor farmers; stop land conversions to non-agricultural use; and provide all-rounded support services and subsidies to the sugar industry and agriculture in general.(pr-Gi Estrada-09179450552)
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