SRA OFFICIALS. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with David John Thaddeus Alba (left), acting administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, and Pablo Luis Azcona (right) and Ma. Mitzi Mangwag, SRA board members representing the sugar planters and the sugar millers, respectively, after taking their oath of office at Malacañan Palace on Monday (Aug. 22, 2022). The President sits as the concurrent agriculture secretary and chair of the SRA Board. (Photo courtesy of Paul Azcona)

BACOLOD CITY – The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is consolidating figures on the refined sugar requirements of the beverage industry to come up with a recommendation to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who sits as the concurrent agriculture secretary and chair of the SRA Board.

“We acknowledge that there is a shortage as far as refined sugar being used primarily by the beverage industry. We are currently consolidating the data as to how much is really needed so we can recommend the necessary actions we need to take to the President,” said acting SRA Administrator David John Thaddeus Alba in a statement on Tuesday, a day after he took his oath before the President at Malacañan Palace.

Alba added that “while we know that Coca-Cola is in a critical place in their sugar needs, we would like to emphasize that Pepsi and RC Cola still have their available supply as per our records”.

In an earlier statement, the country’s top beverage manufacturers, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, and ARC Refreshments Corp., said the industry is facing a shortage of premium refined sugar or bottlers’ grade sugar, “a key ingredient” of their products.

“The Sugar Board just took office and we ask our industry partners to indulge us with some time so we can address this issue based on established facts,” the SRA chief said.

Moreover, Alba said the President has already convened the Sugar Board and directed them to immediately issue Sugar Order (SO) No. 1 on the sugar allocation, noting that the Sugar Board recommended that all sugar for the crop year 2022-2023 will be classified as “B” sugar or domestic sugar.

“There will be no allocation for the “A” or United States quota. This will, of course, be subjected to thorough consultation with all industry stakeholders,” he added.

Alba likewise said they have drafted SO 2 which recommends the importation of 150,000 metric tons of refined sugar.

“While in principle this has been approved, we still need to draw up the mechanics covering this order after consultations as well,” he noted.

Along with Alba, Pablo Luis Azcona and Ma. Mitzi Mangwag also took their oath as SRA board members, representing the sugar planters and the sugar millers, respectively. (PNA)