The country’s sugar barons have thrown their support behind the vice presidential bid of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.
This developed after Marcos joined leaders of the country’s sugar industry in a dinner at the Manila Polo Club on Tuesday and outlined to them his platform of government, especially with respect to agriculture and in particular the sugar industry.
“I would like to be very active in all agriculture. Let us just say that I would work very hard for agriculture in general, and the sugar industry in particular,” Marcos told the sugar barons.
Among those present in the dinner were Confederation of Sugar Producers Association (CONFED) Negros-Panay Chapter president Francis Dela Rama, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) president Enrique Roxas, PANAYFED (Panay Federation of Sugarcane Planters) president Danilo Abelita and UNIFED (United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines) president Manuel Lamata as well as several other leaders of various sugar planters association.
Marcos vowed to support policies to enhance the industry as he noted sugar’s status as the prime dollar earner for the country for a long time and to address as well the persistent problem of sugar smuggling.’
After hearing the senator’s stand on issues affecting the sugar industry, Dela Rama asked his fellow sugar producers: “Well, gentlemen, are we for it?” The question was met with a unanimous “yes” across the table.
Marcos has been pushing for improved government support to arrest the continuing decline of the country’s agriculture industry.
“We have no credit facilities, our irrigation is shot, and support for farmers is very weak,” said Marcos, as he warned that the coming ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration that would remove tariff barriers among member countries would pose more threat to our agriculture.
“We can’t continue to do this if we want to have an agriculture sector left intact. Our farmers cannot compete if we don’t support them,” he said.