Senator Imee Marcos has condemned the unauthorized and fraudulent use of the Office of the President to justify the importation of sugar – “ultimate proof that thick-faced agricultural smugglers are lording it over at the Department of Agriculture.”
Marcos lauded her brother’s timely rejection of the planned importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar but also urged an “immediate reshuffle of the DA’s highest officials to dismantle criminal syndicates within the government.” “Huwag niyong niloloko ang ading ko! (Stop trying to fool my brother),” the senator said.
Local sugar producers told Senator Marcos’s office that sugar prices have spiked to above Php100 per kilo because imports were being cornered by leading manufacturers of sugared products, in cahoots with DA officials, and were thus not reaching ordinary consumers. The producers added that sugar milling was advanced two weeks ago to make more locally produced sugar available to retailers by the end of the month.
Senator Marcos also called for an investigation of DA Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian and other agency officials involved in reversing an import ban on swine-based processed animal proteins (PAP) from Italy and other countries affected by African Swine Fever (ASF). “Sebastian himself acknowledged the medium risk posed by the importation of PAP, in the August 5 memorandum he signed to lift the ban,” Marcos pointed out, adding that some 1,000 pigs were culled in Rome’s Lazio region last June to prevent the spread of ASF. Marcos warned that allowing the entry of porcine PAP into the Philippines could cause a resurgence of ASF among local swine raisers still trying to recover from the animal disease.
The local aquaculture industry uses porcine PAP, made from the skin, blood, and bone of pigs, as cheaper feed to fatten fish and bring down market prices.
But Marcos said that “turning a blind eye to the possible re-entry of ASF favors one agricultural sector at the expense of another,” Marcos said.(PR)