Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito expresses his frustration Tuesday, August 30, 2022 over the supposed lack of implementation of two laws meant to protect and help Filipino sugarcane farmers and industry workers. At the resumption of the Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigation on the sugar importation fiasco involving the Sugar Regulatory Administration, Ejercito lamented that government agencies seemed to be ignoring their duties under Republic Act (RA) 10659 or the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA) of 2015, and RA 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.
The senator first raised concern over the reduced SIDA allocation for the sugar industry, noting that amounts from 2016 to 2020 were way below the mandated annual appropriation of P2 billion. He also asked the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for updates on its recent inspection of warehouses being suspected of hoarding imported sugar; as well as on cases filed against suspected smugglers as part of its enforcement of RA 10845. “Six years or seven years have passed [since] the passage of these measures, it seems we have just disregarded the two laws,” Ejercito said during the hearing. (Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB)