Sabado, Disyembre 27, 2014

The Death of Filipino Sugar Workers


Blame the Nonchalant Philippine Government, AFTA would Gobble PH's Sugar Industry




DEATH FOR FILIPINO SACADAS.These dirt poor Filipino sugar cane "sacadas" would become jobless in the work they inherited from their ascendants. Thanks but no thanks to the incompetence of the Philippine government in not rendering assistance to the sugar industry. Starting January 1, 2015 cheap Thailand sugar will flood the Philippine market, thanks to the Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Free Trade Agreement Filipino consumers will find more savings whenever they buy sugar at the expense of the sacadas.

By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Free Trade Agreement will be implemented on January 1, 2015. It’s upside the P40 a kilo of white sugar could drastically plunge to P30 or less. It bodes well to the consumers.
Its downside however is it would be a blow to the owners of the 28 sugar centrals in the Philippines that provide 700,000 Filipino jobs.
According to the Sugar Regulatory Administration, the country’s sugarcane industry has to be reinvigorated to be competitive. Private sector data show that other countries produce cheaper sugar, the cost of which is equivalent to even one-half the cost of our sugar.
Why? While the Philippines government ignored any assistance to buttress the sugar industry, Thailand, the No. 2 sugar producer in the world after Brazil, has galvanized its sugar millers to compete in the take-no-prisoner’s AFTA.
Thailand provides direct and indirect support for its sugar industry, such as supplemental payment to farmers, low interest loans at 2 percent per annum, fixed domestic prices, free irrigation services, and a well-developed and maintained transport infrastructure such as road networks and transloading ports,” according to Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin, administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), who wrote “Pump-priming for a Stronger, Globally Competitive Sugarcane Industry: Through the Sugarcane Industry Development Fund”.
Martin cited that despite the contribution of P88 billion  in the Philippine economy from the sale of raw sugar, refined sugar, bioethanol and molasses, tolling fees of refined sugar, value-added tax (VAT) on tolling and VAT from the sale of refined sugar, the sugar industry does not receive any funds from the Department of Agriculture, either for the construction of farm-to-mill roads, sugar warehouses, irrigation or water-impounding facilities, research and development or extension services.
If Thailand backs up its sugar industry, and other industries, why the Philippine government ignored this industry?  Because of this governmental incompetence sugar workers would be gobbled by other countries in the regional laissez faire where tariff is pegged at 5% only.

Can you imagine if each of these workers has been feeding some mouths and after AFTA he finds himself jobless.
*** 

One of the most sought legal eagles in Pangasinan told me that the lawyers of the sacked Pangasinan Provincial Administrator Raffy Baraan and Provincial Housing and Urban Development Council Office chief’s Alvin Bigay are lightweight.
“Mahina, natangal sa puesto ang kliyente niya”.

Attorney Raffy Martinez, who lawyers for several mayors in the province, told me that after the Ombudsman dismissed Baraan and Bigay by meting them the cancellation of their eligibility, forfeiture of retirement and benefits and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service, Baraan and Bigay’s lawyer should have filed a Petition of Declaratory Relief at the Supreme Court.
Declaratory Relief occurs when the two parties go to court to get clarification. The camps of Baraan and Bigay were protesting the haste the Ombudsman inflict on them. The duo had instead filed last December 16 an Urgent Motion to Lift the Implementation Order to the Ombudsman.
When I asked him that their lawyer or lawyers should have filed an injunction with temporary restraining order to prevent the Ombudsman in immediately kicking the asses of the beleaguered duo from the Capitol, Martinez agreed that that should be what their lawyer should have done.

One of the digs to those incompetent lawyers would be when either their clients has been dismissed or jailed after a raid or arrest despite the patent loopholes on the implementation of the warrants by the raiding team just like what happened to two cases in a Central Pangasinan's town for the past several months.

August 29, 2015

Businessman bewails cheap price of Sugar
By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY – A financier of small scale sugar planters in Tarlac and Pangasinan said that the price of  white refined sugar bought from the planters by traders plunged from P2, 400 to P1, 400 per sack with 50 kilos content.
 Noel Valdez, who is also into trucking with sugar planters, said that farmers in the two provinces lament the crashed of prices and blamed the Asean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) and the unabated smuggling as the scourge to the welfare of sugar planters.
AFTA has been implemented last January 1, 2015 among 10 members Asean countries where tariff of products among these countries have been lowered if not totally eradicated.
He said that in year 2012 the buying price of traders of refined white sugar at the Hacienda Luisita Sugar Mill in Tarlac was P2, 400 but started to decline in 2013 until it reached the present P1, 400 per sack.
Sugar planters, Valdez said, could only get the cash equivalent of their produce after they milled their sugar cane at the sugar millings when traders wait to buy their refined sugar.
“Pero noong nag attend kami last week ng conference with the SRA (Sugar Regulatory Administration) sa Cebu, sabi ng SRA na naging P1,700 na  ang bilihan ng isang sako sa Mindanao and Visayas”.


Sugar stakeholders in the Philippines blamed the depreciation of the sugar prices to AFTA when the Philippines opened its trade with cheap sugar from Thailand, the No.2 sugar producer in the world after Brazil.
 Valdez and sugar cane stakeholders blamed the lack of support of the government to them unlike Thailand to her farmers. In Thailand, the government provides direct and indirect support for its sugar industry, such as supplemental payment to farmers, low interest loans at 2 percent per annum, fixed domestic prices, free irrigation services, and a well-developed and maintained transport infrastructure such as road networks and trans-loading ports
Valdez, a resident of Ramos, Tarlac, said that the average harvest of a hectare of the crop is 70 tons or 7,000 kilos of sugar canes.
After milling the farmers can get 70 sacks of refined sugar and sell them up to P120,000.
“The cost of production of the farmer in a hectare is P60, 000 where he used the sum to buy the fertilizer, pays the tabasero (cutters), kabyaw (tillers and haulers), trucker, and others”.
He said P60, 000 from the P120, 000 in the sale of sugar is not the net income of the farmer in one year planting and harvest period.
“Since sugar cane is harvested once a year, the farmer earns more on the second and third harvest because he did not need tillers and planters since the leftover of the cut crops sprouted to be harvested later”.
Despite the saving the farmers can get on the second and third harvest, Valdez still bemoan the cheap buying price of sugar that could hardly meet both ends of the farmers.
P60, 000 is only P5000 per month if ones considered the net revenue of a sugar farmer, with a family to feed, in one year.
Experts said the upside of AFTA is the P40 a kilo of white sugar could drastically plunge to P30 or less that bodes well to the consumers. Its downside however is it would be a blow to the owners of the 28 sugar centrals in the Philippines that provide 700,000 Filipino jobs to people like Valdez.

(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at totomortz@yahoo.com).

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