Philippines: Marcos Jr. – All sugar isn’t sweet… Part II

BOC in Subic intercepted a cargo vessel from Thailand loaded with 7,000 metric tons or some 140,000 bags of sugar. The move comes after Pres. Marcos ordered the pursuit of smuggled sugar in the country amid its soaring prices” (ABS-CBN News, 18.08.2022).

Medalla: I have heard from Sec. Balisacan, they are now close to arriving at an agreement that food processing companies will be allowed to import at least half of their sugar needs. As you reduce demand from food processors, because they are allowed to import, this will increase supply to all other users, and hopefully reduce sugar prices” (ABS-CBN News, 18.08.2022).

In Manilla and in the Office of the President there is huge crisis surrounding sugar. The basic commodity used by industry and by ordinary consumers I.E. the citizen. There has already been outrage and been a public outcry over the Sugar Order No. 4 and the powers given to the former Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Leocardio S. Sebastian. It took only a months time from the appointment of him to the erratic scandal, which the whole administration is going through.

The 300,000 metric tons of sugar in the Sugar Order No. 4 was cancelled, but foreign imported sugar is already arriving in the ports. That’s why just this week there are reports for a shortage. Soda companies are claiming they lack sugar for the production. This being Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo. These are both popular soft-drinks who lacks sugar for their production.

While there is new proposals of a new Sugar Order only importing 150,000 tons of Sugar by October. While the government claims to be raiding warehouses and hoarders of sugar in the Republic. In such a way to curb the rising prices and the “lack” of Sugar in the market-place. That’s two very different approaches. Which is just very odd…

Because, if the nation has run out of sugar and has nothing on the market. How can the government go and say there hoarders of it? This means the Sugar mills and the owners of the distilleries are lying about the production and stockpiling it. While the prices are soaring in the ”lack” of it. While the government still insist to import and not use the stockpiled products. Since it still proposes to use the imported sugar.

It doesn’t help that the Office of the President has promised an investigation into the matter. More of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) members has resigned. While later the President plans to revise the body and it’s work.

On top of this is reported as well: “House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan files House Resolution 259 seeking a congressional inquiry into the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s ‘illegal’ order to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar” (CNN Philippines, 17.08.2022).

President Marcos Jr. who is not only the President, but also the head of the Department of Agriculture. This all fall onto him and his burden to carry. His signature of the first Sugar Order Volume 4 is there. He did discuss the Sugar Industry as a part in a meeting on the 1st of August ahead of the Sugar Order Volume 4, which was published on the 9th August 2022. That’s why everything that has transpired since then has been in connection with this.

The scandal isn’t looking any better by the day. It is only looking incompetent and lacking of focus. Since there are certain lacks of quality refined sugar for certain industries. While the prices and inflation are souring as well. That’s because of the needs and the lack of produced sugar. Even if the Department and such says there are. The producers wouldn’t say it would lack. Even if the farmers and the millers says there enough for everyone.

This is just a whole mess and so early in the Presidency. Surely, the President knows this is looking badly on him. Not only the Sugar Order Vol. 4, but the shortage and the industry as a whole. This is all hurting him and his only beginning. There is a reason why it seems out of control and without a well thought out plan. Since, they are only making patch-work and not a full sort of programme from the farmer to the producers or to the consumer. It is just what is needed to avoid one crisis and stagnate another one.

President Marcos Jr. has gotten into a pickle by taking the two roles at once. Instead of growing into the Presidency and showing his character as a leader. He wanted to a big man from the on-set. The burden and the possible work-load seem enormous. Might be prestigious to be both at the same time. However, this scandal shows it’s too much and to many details.

That’s why the Department of Agriculture would be better served with a professional and also another person. Who can follow Presidential Orders and such, but be in it day-to-day. Because, right now… it’s not only a scandal, but a hectic mess. The sort of business and government crisis, which could have been avoided. There is enough people knowing what is going on and who can have the head in the game. However, the President doesn’t seem up to it.

He just wants the glory, the titles and the power, which all the offices he resides in. Nevertheless, with all power, comes responsibility. That responsibility seem to much on him. He might mean well and think he has a purpose. Though the sugar and the sweetener it is… has exposed him and his lack of touch.

This is just bitter and not sweet. Marcos Jr. is just showing inept to do all of this and his Executive Secretary in the Office of the President cannot save him either. This is all on him and even if tries to deflect blame on everyone else. He is the head, not only of state, but of the Department too. The SRA is getting reorganized and there is a supposed investigation in the works.

However, what all of this showed is that he cannot carry this alone. The President cannot manage or have the ability face it all. There is to many stakeholders, priorities and needs to sufficiently get it done. That’s why his failing and somehow his not looking stronger, but looking incompetent.

Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Junior would be better off. He would be better of in the Malacañang Palace and being a full-time President. It looks like it would serve him much better and maybe he could have come with some orders from on high in the time of need. Instead his in a sea of trouble in a Department of Agriculture and doesn’t seem to know the way out. Peace.

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