House probe on sugar price drop: ARBs laud Cong. Albee

The Negros Farm Workers & Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producer Federation (NEFARB) commends 3rd District Rep. Albee Benitez for filing House Resolution No. 2017, acting promptly on the call to investigate the continuous drop of prices of sugar.

“If the result of the House Investigation will prosper into a positive resolution to the sugar industry problem, this will be a whopping relief for the more than 60,000 small sugarcane farmers who have been suffering from the devastating effect of low sugar prices for months since milling season started in this Crop Year 2017-18,” said NEFARB chair Cornelio Sandrico.

“But still, we must prepare for the worst because of uncontrolled market forces that dictate the prices of commodities under the free trade regime of liberalized economy entered into by the Philippine government,” he added.

The group called on all the stakeholders to be vigilant on the last stretch of the milling season. If the price of sugar is not rewarding for the small farmers, they will be compelled to discontinue sugarcane farming and demand for a government bailout to allow them to diversify, they stated.

They called on all Negros representatives to support their proposed bailout plan which is similar to Republic Act 7202, or the Sugar Restitution Law.

“If the sugar industry does not recover from the price slump, it will negate all government efforts to achieve social justice for small farmers thru the agrarian reform program. If low sugar prices prevents small sugarcane farmers to produce enough to feed their families, then our struggle for the land, and the blood and lives we lost in that struggle, will all be for nothing,” Cornelio pointed out.*