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TURNING POINT: Making the Best of Trouble

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 27 August) — Apparently, no previous presidents had tried what the current President, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has done, that is, in assuming as secretary of the Department of Agriculture, in concurrent capacity.

He has been saying that agriculture is closest to his heart ever since. Thus, he has to start with it in fixing the economy of the country. He hits the bullseye in his choice. For this sector is the seat of food security and achieving its certainty is a huge push to the recovery of an economy that has been ravaged by the pandemic and the persisting corruption. How PBBM (President BongBong Marcos) would rise to the challenge is a major development to watch. In fact, it is already unfolding.

Being the chief executive of the government, assuming the leadership of the Agriculture Department amounts to micro-managing. Going into it implies that he trusts no one or finds no one who shares his vision and possesses the requisite capacities to make it happen. He alone can do it.

His micro-management is put to the first test: the unauthorized move of his underlings, right under his nose, to import 300,000 MT of sugar. 

The import is, accordingly, necessary, to augment supply and thus curb the runaway price of sugar in the market. It was aborted though, thanks to the local sugar producers’ noise in opposing it. The import is opposed because it would, accordingly, cover and usher the release to the market of hoarded sugar at a price to the hoarders’ advantage that would upset and destabilize the production of the local industry and the incomes of local producers.

The issue of sugar hoarding suddenly came to fore as a consequence. Raids resulted to the discovery of tens of thousands of sacks of sugar stocked in huge unregistered warehouses, which were not moving in any way. The unmoving stocks are clearly a hoard waiting for the providential moment to release when profit is perceived maximal.

It is possible that the hoarded sugar in the illegal warehouses were smuggled to the country, which could only happen with the connivance of corrupt officials in some key units of the government. Or, the hoard might have come in through legitimate importation; or they could even be local produce. These are concerns to look into.

Whatever, hoarding or profiteering is an economic sabotage to be dealt with an iron fist. All involved shall be hauled to justice.

We expect the President-Secretary to make the best of the situation. The opportunity should not escape. 

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is a retired professor and former chancellor of the Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)

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