Seized sugar from Thailand to be sold at Kadiwa stores

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — About 4,000 metric tons of seized white sugar from Thailand would be available at the government’s Kadiwa stores.

The 80,000 bags of sugar were shipped from Thailand to the Port of Batangas in January, but later rendered as forfeited as the shipment lacks necessary documents, Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said in a statement.

Citing an order from the Sugar Regulatory Administration that states “seized sugar with commercial value and capable of legitimate use may be disposed of by the BOC through a donation to government institutions,” the Department of Finance approved the donation to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The DA received the sugar on Tuesday.

In a separate statement, the DA said the sugar would be sold at Kadiwa markets and stalls.

Based on its monitoring, the prices of sugar range from ₱78 to ₱110 a kilo. The department also noted that the existing sugar supply in the country is “more than enough” to sustain current demand.

This development, however, was criticized by the Kabataan Partylist, claiming this only “legitimize[s]” and “normalize[s]” sugar smuggling.

“Plus point na naman sa kanila para masabing "bumaba" and presyo ng asukal, pero ang kawawa dito ay mga local sugar producers na hindi kakayanin makipag compete sa napakaraming smuggled sugar na mura ang halaga,” agriculturist and Kabataan Partylist Vice President for Visayas Jose Paolo Echavez said in a statement.

[Translation: It's a plus point for them to say that the price of sugar has "declined," but the unfortunate thing here is that local sugar producers are unable to compete with so much smuggled sugar that are cheaper.]

Instead of making them available at Kadiwa stores, the Kabataan Partylist said the government must give the subject sugar to the public for free or store it as buffer stock.