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Bacolod City – Newly-installed Sugar Regulatory Administration Board Member Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr. vowed to work for unification of sugar industry and set aside political and personal agendas for the survival of the industry.

“I hope we can talk to everyone and see what we can do to unify the different aggrupations,” Valderrama said, noting that the weakness of the sugar industry is that “we could not get our acts together.”

He also vowed to work for the protection of small sugar producers, who are mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Valderrama, designated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the new SRA board member representing the planters, took his oath on August 6 before Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez at the Bacolod City Government Center.

A president of the VICMICO Planters Association Inc., and current director of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc., Valderrama said “my dream and my prayer, is that we can unify and have one common agenda.”

“We need to work for the interest of the greater majority in the sugar industry,” he further said, stressing also that the rising cost of production, triggered by spiraling prices of fertilizer and fuel cost, were among the bigger challenges facing the industry.

To solve this pressing issue, Valderrama said that President Marcos Jr., the concurrent Agriculture secretary, wants to explore government-to-government purchase of fertilizer to bring the prices down.

While the shortage of sugar supply is another challenge, Valderrama said he is confidence that the DA and the SRA will be able to address the problem in the next two weeks.

Joining Valderrama at his oath-taking at the BCGC were his wife Marie Rose, and children JD and Camille and their families as well as the board of directors of CONFED, VICMICO PAI, VICMICO Planters Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the VMC Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative. (Gilbert Bayoran via tvds photo by tvds)

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