SRA Head Serafica to Push for Sugar Industry’s Competitiveness, Reduced Production Costs
A competitive sugar industry, and reducing the cost of production will be the thrust of newly-designated Sugar Regulatory Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica.
SUGARY & SWEET CONCERNS. Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol addresses sugar industry concerns during the sugar industry stakeholders forum at the Sugar Regulatory Administration – Bacolod Office last Friday. With him are (L-R) Vice-Gov. Bong Lacson, Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr., Sugar Regulatory Administrator Engr. Herminigildo Serafica, Sugar Board Member Atty. Roland Beltran, Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Visayas Atty. Hansel Didulo and DA6 Regional Director Remelyn Reloter. *(Butch Bacaoco photo)
Serafica, who was in Bacolod City Friday for a forum with sugar industry stakeholders, called on industry players to continue their vigilance.
“There is no more going back. We have to look forward for farm mechanization. We have to accept the fact that farm mechanization is the only way to go (up),” he said.
Serafica, who replaced Anna Rosario Paner as SRA chief, thanked Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and President Rodrigo Duterte for giving him their trust and confidence.
He admitted that “lots of challenges” are now being faced by the sugar industry, especially the farmers.
“We’ll just have to move forward and faster this time,” he added.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol (left) administers the oath of office to Engr. Herminigildo Serafica as the new Sugar Regulatory Administrator at the start of the sugar industry stakeholders forum at the Sugar Regulatory Administration – Bacolod Office last Friday.* (Butch Bacaoco photo)
On apprehensions from some sectors that he will got soft against beverage companies on the entry of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), Serafica assured leaders of the sugar industry that Special Order Number 3, which regulates the entry and use of HFCS in the country, “will remain as such”.
“It was a done deal already”, he added.
“I assure the sugar industry that it (SO3) is still binding. We have the support of Secretary Piñol and the President,” Serafica said.
IRRIGATION FEES PROBE.
MEANWHILE, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol will order an investigation into allegations raised by farmers in Negros that fees are being charged for the use of water from government irrigation systems.
Christian Tuayon, secretary general of Bayan Muna- Negros, said that the issue was raised during the forum between Pinol and sugar workers at the Capitol Friday.
“It was the first time that Sec. Pinol knew that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is charging fees to rice farmers in the province. It should be free,” Tuayon said.
He said the NIA is charging P1,700 for every hectare in Bago City and Murcia town.
Tuayon quoted Pinol as saying that he will file charges against NIA officials before the Ombudsman.
The charges are allegedly for membership in the local irrigators association, he pointed out.
He added that Pinol was also surprised to know that the irrigation system is also “being closed.”
Tuayon said they were thankful that the official listened to the complains and issues raised by the farmers in Negros.* (NDB)