21 MARCH 2017
The National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines and its allied labor federations, workers organizations, small farmer’s organizations and agrarian reform beneficiary organizations representing more or less 300,000 sugar workers and their families stand in firm solidarity with the other stakeholders of the sugar industry in condemning the unabated, uncontrolled and unregulated importation of High Fructose Corn Syrup commonly known as HFCS into the Philippines which is directly responsible in the rapid and unfortunate drop in the prices of domestic sugar.
The unabated, uncontrolled and unregulated importation of HFCS into the Philippines in the hundreds of thousands in terms of metric tonnage affected the prices of locally-produced sugar from P1800.00 to P1300.00 per bag in in less than a year. The same drop of prices is caused by the entry of HFCS which affected the livelihood, income and productivity of sugar workers in the mills and in the farms. Such decrease in their income and livelihood added insult to injury as the sugar farm workers are among the most precarious workers in the Philippines where a large number are not being paid the statutory minimum wage and are not covered by statutory social protections.
Worse, because of the continuing drop of the price of sugar, corporate sugar farms and sugar mills will downsize and/or cease their operations resulting to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of sugar farm and mill workers. The massive loss of jobs in the sugar industry will not only affect the dependents and families of these sugar workers, but will also affect the Philippine economy in general, not to mention the possibility of a spike in insurgency as this disastrous effect to the Filipino workers will be considered as the government’s callous and insensitiveness of the plight of the less privilege sugar workers by protecting the interests of big capitalists and oligarchs behind the importation of HFCS.
We, therefore, manifest in the strongest possible term our support to the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s Sugar Order No. 3 which aims to regulate the entry of HFCS in the Philippines and arrest the imminent demise of the sugar industry and its disparaging effect to the livelihood and sustenance of hundreds of thousands sugar industry workers, sugar farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries and their families.
Likewise, We call on Agricultural Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Pinol to retract and apologize for his insensitive statement in seeking authorization from President Rodrigo Duterte to hold the implementation of SRA’s Sugar Order No. 3. This statement coming from a high-ranking government official is very disturbing and is a clear manifestation that the Department of Agriculture together with the Department of Labor and Employment under the leadership of Secretary Silvestre Bello III are mere mouthpiece of oligarchs and capitalists. END.
Contact Person: Roland de la Cruz, NACUSIP National President
Mobile No. 09173252757 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org