Congressman Suggests Ongoing Price Manipulation Among Sugar Traders

Benitez: I will file a resolution calling for an inquiry into the matter

Saturday, December 2, 2017
By Paulo Loreto Lim

Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez yesterday echoed the call of sugarcane planters, who recently demanded the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) conduct an investigation into dropping “mill gate prices,” revealing plans to convene a congressional investigation.

“I will file a resolution on Monday to call [an] inquiry into this matter,” the congressman said.

“I received the report that claimed some traders were involved in alleged [price] manipulations,” he explained. “[Planters] asked if I would agree to calling for a congressional investigation and, I said, ‘No problem, we are going to do that.”

Recently, Sadrico Cornelio of the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producers Federation claimed the “substantial drop” in the price of sugar may lead to a sugar crisis, noting, as “mill gate prices” fall, retail prices remain high.

“Mill gate” price, sometimes referred to as a “factory gate” price, refers to the actual cost of a product, comprised of elements including labor and energy costs, but free of any markup.

Earlier this year, General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA) Secretary-General Wennie Sancho said he would like to see a rise in sugar prices, noting, “If sugar prices are high, it will assure the livelihood of sugar workers.”/PLL, WDJ