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SRA issues order to import 440,000 MT of sugar, sans Marcos signature

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) on Wednesday released an order authorizing the importation of 440,000 metric tons (MT) of refined sugar, even without the signature of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who sits as chairman of the SRA Board in his capacity as Secretary of Agriculture.

The Sugar Order (SO) No. 6, uploaded on the SRA website, showed that the document was transmitted to the Office of the President on February 9, 2023.

The document was signed by the SRA Administrator David John Thaddeus Alba (vice-chairperson), SRA Board members Mitzi Mangwag (millers’ representative) and Pablo Luiz Azcona (planters’ representative).

Also signatory in the latest order was Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.

In an interview on Tuesday, Azcona said that the President is represented on the SRA Board by Panganiban. 

“For upcoming orders, we respectfully send it to the President so that he is very well informed. Before we release it, it is always nice to have his input,” said Azcona.

“Go-signal siguro ‘yun because I don’t know if he will sign in personally eh,” he added.

GMA News Online has sought Malacañang's comment about the new importation order and the absence of the President's signature.

Under the SO 6, the maximum allowed volume of sugar to be imported is 440,000 MT, broken down as follows:

  • 200,000 MT shall be allocated to consumers
  • 240,000 MT shall be allocated as buffer stock and shall only be released for consumers upon approval of the SRA Board

The first 100,000 MT for consumption shall arrive “as soon as possible,” while the second arrival of 100,000 MT shall be before April 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, the buffer stock of 240,000 MT shall arrive not earlier than April 1, 2023.

The importation order was made in consideration of maintaining a balanced supply and demand of sugar for domestic consumption while ensuring stable prices, unpredictable weather conditions, and the anticipated increase in demand of sugar due to the easing of restrictions brought about by the pandemic.

The order shall take effect three days from its filing with the Office of the National Registrar, UP Law Center, Diliman Quezon City.

The document was received by the UP Law Center on February 15, 2023. — BM/NB, GMA Integrated News