MANILA, Philippines – Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) head David Thaddeus Alba has resigned, Malacañang confirmed on Friday, March 24, making him the second SRA administrator to resign under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
In a statement, Malacañang said Alba visited Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Wednesday, March 22, “informing him of his decision to resign.” Bersamin “persuaded him not to,” but Alba cited his worsening health.
Marcos said Alba’s resignation is effective April 15 “to prepare the appointment of his replacement.”
In a press conference, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez likewise confirmed Alba’s resignation.
“We in the government come and go depending on the pleasure of the appointing authority,” Estoperez said in a mix of English and Filipino. “Whatever his reason is, I have not read his resignation, but we have to respect Administrator Alba for his decision.”
SRA board member Pablo Luis Azcona mentioned earlier on Friday that Alba had submitted his resignation, citing health reasons. In an interview with DZBB, Azcona said the SRA board was informed about this during their regular meeting on Monday, March 20, adding that he and Alba have not personally spoken to each other about this.
Estoperez said that he expects the next SRA administrator to also come from the ranks, adding that he hoped the announcement would come “in the next few days.”
In a statement on Saturday, March 25, Alba confirmed reports of his resignation, saying his duties and responsibilities as acting administrator “has taken a negative toll on my health and family life.”
“I must regrettably resign as the acting administrator in order to preserve my health as well as make a full recovery,” he said.
Alba also dispelled “any other interpretations and speculation” about his resignation and said it “stems from purely health-related reasons.”
“Had I been in better health, I would gladly continue with the responsibility entrusted to me by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. I wish the next administrator the best, and I hope that [the] gains and programs we have achieved for the sugar industry will continue long into the future,” he added.
Alba’s resignation comes after Senator Risa Hontiveros alleged earlier this week that a “sugar cartel” of government-favored importers were raking in as much as P14 billion in profits.
On Saturday, March 25, Hontiveros urged Alba to “speak his truth” on the controversy, warning him that he might be “left holding the bag” if he didn’t.
In August 2022, Alba’s predecessor Hermenegildo Serafica also resigned from the SRA following the unauthorized signing of an “illegal” sugar importation resolution. These resignations took place as controversies continue to rock the agriculture department, which is concurrently headed by Marcos. – Rappler.com
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