Bacolod: I did not seek this position – Valderrama

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Bacolod City – Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama clarified that he neither sought nor even considered the possibility of having been appointed as planters’ representative to the Sugar Regulatory Administration Board.

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Valderrama made the disclosure in an open letter, in response to the statement of Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, the Personal Adviser for Western Visayas of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., that he will lobby for the revocation of his appointment as SRA board member.

When my colleagues informed me that I was nominated, I tried to beg off, citing among other reasons my wife’s current medical condition. Knowing the pressures that would be brought to bear on the SRA by present circumstances, I wanted to avoid unnecessary stress that could affect my family at this time, Valderrama said, who admitted openly campaigning for the presidential bid of former Vice President Leni Robredo.

But when Malacañang called to inform me of my appointment, Valderrama said “I was left with little choice but to consider this my ‘tour of duty’, an opportunity to serve the industry that has been the source of livelihood for so many people, including my family.”

The Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations, Inc. (CONFED), Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, Inc. (PANAYFED) and the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, Inc. (NFSP), which collectively comprise 57.48% of total sugar production, have expressed their support for the appointment of Valderrama as SRA board member, representing the planters.

In a joint statement, the three sugar planters groups said that Valderrama is an excellent choice to represent the planters as member of SRA Sugar Board, as he adheres to the spirit of teamwork and consultation in matters that affect the industry as a whole.

They added that Valderrama’s long years of active involvement in the sugar industry have shown his readiness to work with industry leaders and stakeholders, especially the small farmers.

While Ferrer said he respects the decision of the President and is thankful that a Negrense was appointed as SRA board member, he said he was provoked when Valderrama accused his group of lobbying for the revocation of the appointment, which he had not done.

He provoked me so, I will find a way for his appointment to be revoked, Ferrer said.

Valderrama admitted that he wondered why not someone else close to the current administration, instead of him, was designated as SRA board member.

But how do you say no, if this gesture, were in fact a genuine manifestation of the President’s call for Unity, he asked.

Valderrama said he accepted the call, with a motivation and his most fervent wish to help unite the industry, to put their acts together, to speak with one voice, and to work as one, to address the many challenges confronting the sugar industry in these difficult times.

While he sees no problem in questioning and seeking the revocation of his appointment, Valderrama said “I am not indispensable nor do I covet the position. I will not turn my back on the chance to serve the industry, but I do not wish to burden the President if this has become a problem for him. There is no need for debate or recrimination. I am at the President’s disposal.”

If the President finds it appropriate to enlist someone else, let us respect his prerogative and wish them success, he stressed. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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