President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday, August 20, appointed new officials of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) following the sugar importation mess involving former officials who signed an importation order without his approval.
Malacañang announced in a statement on Saturday, August 20, that Marcos appointed David John Thaddeus Alba as acting SRA administrator.
Alba replaced Hermenegildo Serafica who had resigned after Malacañang deemed as “illegal” Sugar Order No. 4 signed by the former members of the Sugar Regulatory Board (SRB).
Marcos, who chairs the SRB as agriculture secretary, also appointed three new SRB members.
Marcos appointed Pablo Luis Azcona to represent sugar planters, replacing Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr.; and Mitzi Mangwag to represent sugar millers, assuming the post of Roland Beltran, who resigned due to health reasons.
The acting SRA administrator is part of the group that went to a Negros Occidental court earlier this year to block Sugar Order No. 3, which would have allowed the importation of 200,000 metric tons of refined and bottlers’ grade sugar for industrial users.
Alba’s group had said that then-SRA administrator Serafica issued the order without proper consultation with industry stakeholders and would have greatly affected sugar farmers. Serafica had said in late June that implementing the importation order, as scheduled, would have curbed sugar prices, which has shot to P100 per kilo.
The President reorganized the SRA as the Philippines is faced with a sugar shortage. Marcos earlier said the Philippines is likely to import 150,000 metric tons sugar to address this. He had also secured the commitment of the country’s biggest supermarkets to sell sugar at a lower price.
The SRA is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) attached to the Department of Agriculture. It is mandated to promote the growth and development of the sugar industry. – Rappler.com