Senators slam claims PBBM allowed sugar importation

By Wilnard Bacelonia

August 11, 2022, 5:46 pm

<p>Senators Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Senators Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino. (File photo)

MANILA – Senators expressed on Thursday their dissatisfaction over an allegation that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who concurrently sits as Agriculture secretary, approved the importation of 300,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar.

His sister, Senator Imee Marcos, said the unauthorized and fraudulent use of the Office of the President to justify the importation of sugar is the ultimate proof that "thick-faced" agricultural smugglers are lording it over at the Department of Agriculture (DA).

"Huwag niyong niloloko ang ading ko! (Stop deceiving my brother!)," the lawmaker said in her Facebook page.

Imee suggested an immediate reshuffle of the DA's highest officials to dismantle alleged criminal syndicates within the agency.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Tolentino said even if President Marcos really signed a document consenting to the sugar importation, he still has the right to revoke it if he changes his mind on deciding what is best for the country.

"Nasanay kasi yung iba na bukas na bukas yung pag-import natin eh. So, hindi nila nauunawaan yung konsepto ng trade and balance. Dapat kung hindi man mas malaki yung exportation mo kaysa sa importation, magbalanse ito, magpantay (There are others who were used to open importation. So, they do not understand the concept of trade and balance. If ever your exportation is bigger from your importation, it should be balanced, be equal)," Tolentino explained on NET25's Sa Ganang Mamamayan program.

The lawmaker pointed out that using this strategy is good to address the high inflation rate.

"Pag bumaba yung inflation natin, mas mababa yung ibang basic food items natin, yung ibang mga pagkain na talagang kailangan ng ating mga kababayan (If our inflation rate drops, other basic food items will also follow, the food that our countrymen really need)," Tolentino said.

Earlier, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the President had actually rejected the proposal to import an additional 300,000 MT of sugar.

“He is the chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board and denied this in no uncertain terms. The President did not sign [that sugar importation document],” Cruz-Angeles told Palace reporters.

By disallowing the sugar importation, Tolentino believes that President Marcos made the right decision.

"Siguro, dahil siya ang Secretary of Agriculture ngayon, nakita niya na dapat palakasin yung local sugar industry natin. So, tama po yun (Maybe, because he is the Secretary of Agriculture now, he saw the necessity to strengthen our local sugar industry. So, that's right)," he said. (PNA)