Bacolod City – Abolished by then President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018, allegedly due to overlapping functions with the projects of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and state-run financial institutions, calls are now mounting from sugar industry leaders for the revival of the Philippine Sugar Corporation (PHILSUCOR).
PHILSUCOR, a government owned and controlled corporation, provides loans to sugar farmers and financing to facilities used in the manufacture and distribution of sugar and its byproducts.
Joseph Edgar Sarrosa and Cornelio Torreja, former PHILSUCOR board of directors, said through it, sugar farmers may no longer have a hard time in securing loans, especially for cooperatives and farmer associations who have to deal with so many requirements of the Land Bank.
Sarrosa, who had been its board of director for 10 years, disclosed that loans of sugar farmers are approved after at least a month, after due diligence, since PHILSUCOR is familiar with the sugar industry.
“It’s easier for us planters to access those funds, unlike other financing institutions, mahirap talaga (it’s really difficult),” LuzonFed chairman Cornelio Torreja disclosed.
Torreja said many of them managed to purchase cane harvesters and secured crop loans, with minimal interest, because of PHILSUCOR.
After the recent meeting between sugar industry leaders with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sarrosa, who is also the vice president of the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) said that the Chief Executive expressed his intention to revisit PHILSUCOR.
PHILSUCOR was created in 1983 through Presidential Decree 1890 issued by the late President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.
Its main function was to provide financing in the acquisition, rehabilitation, and expansion of sugar mills, refineries and other related facilities used in the manufacture, packing, storage, distribution, and shipment of sugar and its by-products and derivatives.
Under RA 10659, known as the Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015, the financing needs of sugar farmers are provided by the Land Bank of the Philippines. However, sugar farmers are complaining over the stringent bureaucratic requirements of the Land Bank of the Philippines in securing loans.
Negros Occidental Rep. Emilio “Dino” Yulo III, a former board member of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, also expressed strong support for the PHILSUCOR revival. “I think it will come a long way, in helping the rehabilitation of sugar industry,” said Yulo, who joined sugar industry stakeholders in the ongoing 69th PHILSUTECH national convention held in Cebu City.
During its time, I think there were many major projects, as well as assistance made through loans to farmers, the Negros Occidental 5th district solon said, apparently referring to PHILSUCOR.
The best thing about PHILSUCOR then was the speed at which they were able to release the loans, Yulo said, noting that agricultural loans essentially involves the essence of time, which PHILSUCOR best answers.
Asked about possible limitations on the PHILSUCOR revival, Yulo said it is the present Implementing Rules and Regulations of SIDA law which provides that downloading of money should be made to Land Bank.
But he said they can work it out with LBP, since its president is a Negrense, the solon added. PHILSUCOR might be a second conduit, Yulo said, adding that they can make amendments to the IRR of the SIDA law. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)