150MT of imported refined sugar seen to arrive before Nov. 15

BACOLOD City – The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is looking at importing 150,000 metric tons (MT) of refined sugar before Nov. 15 to address its tightening supply.

SRA Acting Administrator David John Thaddeus Alba said on Wednesday the importation will be covered by Sugar Order No. 2, which the SRA Board has recommended for the approval of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“Then that’s when we start the procedure of importing. The target date for the shipment to arrive should be before November 15. Why November 15? Because by that time, our refineries will be operational and we would have enough supply of sugar,” he told reporters here.

Alba, together with SRA board members Pablo Luis Azcona and Ma. Mitzi Mangwag, was in Bacolod to attend the opening rites of the Philippine Sugar Technologists Association’s 68th Annual National Convention at the SMX Convention Center.

The SRA chief said they are consulting with the stakeholders to come up with the mechanics for the importation.

“(We will determine) how to divide the 150,000MT between the bottlers and the consumers,” he added.

Alba said “right now, there is a tightness in sugar supply, but it’s on the bottler’s side”.

Bottler’s grade refined sugar is being utilized by industrial users such as Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, and ARC Refreshments Corp.

“That is where the tightness is. It’s a special kind of sugar, it’s really white. The rest of the sugar maybe, there’s a little tightness, we don’t know yet. We have not conducted any survey, but it shows it’s not critical,” the SRA chief said.

On Tuesday, Alba said 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”.

Marcos, the concurrent agriculture secretary and chair of the SRA Board, had earlier acknowledged there may be a need to import 150,000 MT of sugar, if the supply is depleted by October. (PNA)