There is no need to import sugar for now, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said as the country's supply is enough to meet the demands for the commodity.
Marcos, who concurrently heads the Department of Agriculture, made the remark after he rejected the proposal to import an additional 300,000 metric tons of sugar, which Malacañang said was made without his approval.
According to the president, the Philippines has enough supply of sugar, some of which have been previously imported and are on inventory.
"So sabi ko bakit hindi natin unahin yan dahil yan ay galing dito sa Pilipinas?.. So bago tayo mag-import ng panibagong asukal, dapat sabi ko ubusin muna natin ang supply dito," Marcos said in his vlog posted on Sunday evening.
Marcos said the supply of sugar may run out by October this year, at which time the Philippines may start importing again.
"Pero kakaunti lang, hindi kasing dami ng kanilang sinasabi dati na 300,000 [metric] tons. Siguro malaki na yung 150,000 [metric] tons para sa buong taon na ito. Kaya sa aking palagay nabawasan natin nang mabuti ang importation ng sugar," he added.
Marcos said that while his administration prefers not to rely on importation, it is necessary to increase supply and lower the price of basic commodities in the market.
"Hindi natin maaaring gawin yun sa taumbayan. Habang ang produksyon pa natin ay inaayos pa natin, napipilitan tayo mag-import, ngunit tiyakin natin na yung importation ay hindi naman sobra-sobra sa pangangailangan at meron namang suplay dito sa Pilipinas," he added.
Malacañang last week denied that Marcos authorized the issuance of an order from the Sugar Regulatory Administration to import an additional 300,000 metric tons of sugar, saying that such resolution was even "illegal".
An investigation had been launched to determine the circumstances behind the issuance of the order. Agriculture Usec. Leocadio Sebastian, who appeared to have signed the resolution, has since resigned from his post.