Sugar smuggling related to the elections?
An official of the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines (SAP) has expressed suspicion that certain politicians are smuggling sugar in order to raise campaign money for the May 9 elections.
The Inquirer quoted Manuel Lamata, chairman of SAP’s Sugar Anti-Smuggling Organization, as saying that P287 million in smuggled sugar has already entered the country this year. From 2010 to 2015, he said at least P812 million smuggled sugar were seized.
He said the port of entry has shifted from Manila to ports in Mindanao.
Lamata and Customs officials inspected more than 11,935 bags of smuggled sugar worth P30 million which were seized by authorities in the Zamboanga City port.
The sugar shipment, worth at least P30 million, was on board the MV Narhuda and came from Thailand via Malaysia.
Bags with the logo of a Negros Occidental refinery were also found, which means there is intention to pass them off as local sugar.
Lamata said a prominent politician in the Visayas has attempted to smuggle sugar into the country through Cagayan de Oro City. He refused to identify the politician.
He said smugglers also use the smuggled sugar to bring in drugs.
He said smuggled sugar will drive down prices, to the detriment of 1.2 million people who get their income from the sugar industry