President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. graces the 72nd anniversary celebration of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at its central office in Batasan Road, Quezon City on January 31, 2023. STAR / Michael Varcas
MANILA — President Marcos is eyeing the revival of the Philippine Sugar Corp. (PHILSUCOR), a state-run firm that provided financing to facilities used in the manufacture and distribution of sugar and its by-products, which was abolished during the previous administration.
In a video message released by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), Marcos said revitalizing PHILSUCOR was one of the suggestions made during his meeting yesterday with stakeholders of the sugar industry in Malacañang.
“It’s financing for farmers, especially for cooperatives and farmers’ associations. They were not able to work that much because they tried to abolish the PHILSUCOR in 2019, I think. But it was not abolished,” Marcos said in Filipino.
“We will revive and modify it. We will see what changes can be made so we can adjust it according to our present situation and continue their work in providing assistance to our farmers, to our farmers’ groups,” he added.
However, a document from the Official Gazette showed that PHILSUCOR was abolished by former president Rodrigo Duterte through Memorandum Order 30 dated Oct. 25, 2018.
In the order, Duterte said the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations had recommended the abolition of PHILSUCOR because its functions and purpose duplicate or overlap with those of the projects of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and state-run financial institutions.
Much of the financing needs of sugar mills are being provided by the Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines and private banking and financing firms, the former president added.
PHILSUCOR was created in 1983 through Presidential Decree 1890 issued by the President’s late father and namesake Ferdinand Marcos.
Its main function was to provide financing in the acquisition, rehabilitation and expansion of sugar mills, refineries and other related facilities used in the manufacture, packing, storage, distribution and shipment of sugar and its by-products and derivatives.
Also discussed during the meeting was the schedule of the importation of 150,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar and how to open up the importation to all traders.
There were also discussions on plans to strengthen the local sugar industry and to identify sugar lands to increase acreage and boost production.
“Unfortunately, we will still import up to 150,000 metric tons, but if our production is good, we might no longer need to do it. In the end, we will still continue to favor buying local production over importation,” the President said.
“That is what we need to balance. We need to have enough supply of sugar but we have to prioritize the production coming from the Philippines,” he added.
On Monday, Marcos approved the importation of as much as 150,000 MT of sugar to stabilize the price and increase the country’s stock.
According to a forecast by the SRA, the Philippines will have a “negative ending stock” of 552,835 MT by the end of August, the end of the milling season.
Importing an additional 100,000 MT to 150,000 MT of sugar is needed to prevent a shortfall, the SRA said.
Citing SRA data, the PCO said the country has enough supply of raw sugar with a beginning stock of 160,000 MT as of May 7.
However, the Philippines will still need to import 100,000 MT to 150,000 MT of sugar this year since the expected local production of 2.4 MMT, the 440,000 MT allowed to be imported as well as the 64,050 MT under the minimum access volume mechanism will not be able to cover the 3.1 MMT demand. – Cecille Suerte Felipe