Kadiwa stores to sell seized sugar at P70/kilo

March 21, 2023
The Philippine Star | https://bit.ly/3Z1MGg6

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has approved a recommendation to sell confiscated smuggled sugar at P70 per kilo in Kadiwa stores, an official of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said yesterday.

In an interview, SRA board member and planters’ representative Pablo Luis Azcona said a total of 12,000 metric tons (MT) of smuggled sweetener can now be sold at Kadiwa outlets.

“At least 8,000 tons of sugar were confiscated in Batangas and recently at least P85 million worth or roughly 4,000 tons of sugar were seized in Subic. Good thing, we got a memo from Malacañang that the apprehended sugar will be donated to the DA (Department of Agriculture) for sale to the public by Kadiwa,” Azcona said.

“Kadiwa has always sold sugar at P70 per kilo, so it will remain at P70 per kilo,” Azcona said, adding that the government targets to bring down the retail price of sugar with the release of imported sweetener in the local market.

SRA administrator David Alba earlier asked President Marcos to approve the sale of the confiscated smuggled sugar at Kadiwa stores amid the spike in retail prices of the commodity.

Based on the monitoring of the DA on Monday, the retail price of refined sugar ranged between P86 and P110 per kilo; washed sugar, between P82 and P95 per kilo and brown sugar, between P80 and P95 per kilo.

“DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban and I expect that the cost of sugar will go down between 12 and 14 days. I have talked to the people applying for the reclassification, they have told me that all those for reclassification were already sold in the market,” Azcona added.

Azcona said that the landed cost of the imported refined sugar is at P60 per kilo.

Panganiban had defended his decision to award the 440,000 MT sugar imports to only three companies, saying he was acting “upon the instructions” of President Marcos through Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.

Of the total 440, 000 MT of sugar allocations, Panganiban awarded 240,000 MT to All Asian Countertrade Inc. and 100,000 MT each to Edison Lee Marketing and S&D SUCDEN Philippines Inc.

Sugar Order No. 6 states that the SRA should begin accepting applications for five calendar days from the date of effectivity of SO 6 on Feb. 18. The SRA should only award allocations five calendar days after the last day of receiving applications.

P86 million ‘smuggled’ sugar seized

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently seized in Subic P86 million worth of suspected smuggled refined sugar reportedly imported from Hong Kong.

In a statement, the BOC said the contraband was found inside 30 units of 20-footer container vans and were confiscated last March 15.

BOC-Port of Subic District Collector Maritess Martin said 30 container vans were allegedly misdeclared to contain slipper outsoles and styrene butadiene rubber. Martin issued Pre-Lodgment Control Orders after receiving reports from the bureau’s Intelligence and Enforcement Group.

Customs officers conducted a non-intrusive examination and 100 percent physical examination that yielded 15,648 bags/sacks of refined sugar, and the assigned examiner recommended the issuance of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD).

Collector Martin, DA Assistant Secretary James Layug and representatives from the SRA were present during the physical examination.

A WSD has already been issued against the shipments in violation of SRA and BOC Joint Memorandum Order No. 04-2002 dated Aug. 16, 2002 and Section 1400, in relation to Section 1113 (f) of the Republic Act No. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio assured the public of the agency’s continuing vigilance against smuggled goods.

“The Bureau of Customs’ continuous efforts in combating illicit goods at the border have been very effective with the help of our partner agencies,” he said. – Evelyn Macairan