Philippines Report

Imee urges Marcos to reshuffle DA’s highest officials

Imee urges Marcos to reshuffle DA’s highest officials

The “unauthorized and fraudulent” use of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s office to justify the importation of sugar is proof that “smugglers are lording it over at the Department of Agriculture,” Senator Imee Marcos said on Thursday.

In a statement, Imee urged Marcos to move the department’s top officials and “dismantle criminal syndicates within the government.”

“Huwag niyong niloloko ang ading ko,” Imee said. (Stop trying to fool my brother.)

Citing information from local sugar producers, Imee said sugar prices have spiked to more than P100 per kilo because imports were being cornered by leading manufacturers of sugared products, in connivance with DA officials.

She said local sugar producers also informed her office that sugar milling was being made two weeks ahead to make more locally produced sugar available to retailers by the end of the month.

Earlier on Thursday, Malacanang said an investigation is ongoing on the issuance of the Sugar Order No. 4, which supposedly directed the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar on top of what had been imported in May.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said that the authorization to import was illegal. She said the order appeared to have been signed by Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian.

As early as Wednesday, Cruz-Angeles said Marcos had rejected the importation of more sugar.

GMA News Online has sought comment from Sebastian but he has yet to reply as of posting time. His side will be published when it is received.

In the same statement, Imee also called for an investigation on officials who are allegedly involved in reversing an import ban on swine-based processed animal proteins from Italy and other countries affected by the African Swine Fever.

“Sebastian himself acknowledged the medium risk posed by the importation of PAP, in the August 5 memorandum he signed to lift the ban,” Imee said.

She said some 1,000 pigs were culled in Rome’s Lazio region last June to prevent the spread of ASF.

The senator said allowing the entry of porcine PAP into the country might cause a resurgence of ASF, adding that local swine raisers are still recovering  from the last outbreak.

GMA News Online also has sought Sebastian’s comment on the matter.

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