CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs in Region 10 (BOC-10) has clarified that their visit to the warehouses that stored thousands of sacks of sugar in Bukidnon province was merely to inspect and not to raid.
In a statement, BOC-10 said the move was “part of the government’s relentless campaign to bring down the price of sugar.”
On August 23, the bureau’s representatives, together with representatives from the army, police, and the Sugar Regulatory Administration conducted a surprise inspection of the Crystal Sugar Company Inc. warehouse in North Poblacion village, Maramag town.
A total of 466,142 bags of sugar were found in the warehouse.
Javier Sagarbarria, vice president of Crystal Sugar Company, said 66% of the contents are owned by planters and traders.
He added the milling company can produce almost three million bags per year with the help of several planter associations in the province whose sugar products were processed in the company.
On August 24, the composite team also visited the Busco Sugar Milling Corp. in Butong village, Quezon town.
Ellen Villaflora, Busco officer-in-charge, said their warehouse contained 110,674 bags of sugar, 26,000 of which are raw and the rest already refined. Traders have been withdrawing 10,000 to 15,000 bags per day, she added.
Government enforcers carried with them a letter of authority and mission order before they entered the facilities.
The two sugar mill companies assured authorities that their products are locally produced and are serving the Northern Mindanao and Davao Region markets.
“We can prove to you that Crystal is not hoarding even a single bag,” Sagarbarria said during the August 25 press conference. He added the sugar supply left in their warehouse is only 390,000 bags as of the same date.
“How can we hoard if our sugar supply runs out, that there are a few left,” he said in vernacular.
Majority of the 390,000 bags left in the Crystal warehouse, Sagabarria said, are from the traders who bought the supply from the planters. The said company has eight planters’ associations.
The BOC-10 said both sugar mill companies will be required to produce the necessary documents to support their claims of being local sugar producers, including the submission of their respective Sugar Monitoring System Reports. (davaotoday.com)