Sugar, salt and the shortage of both

By September 4, 2022General Admission

By Al S. Mendoza


FIRST was the sugar shortage.  Second, the salt scarcity.  What’s next is the 64-dollar question so to speak.

But first things first.

Who floated the sugar shortage scam?

He/she remains unidentified up to now.

Pending revelation of the guilty party, a purchase order for 350,000 metric tons of sugar surfaced.

It was signed by an assistant secretary of Agriculture, three other ranking officials and the chief of the Sugar Regulatory Commission.

Turns out the purchase order was not authorized by President Marcos Jr.

No less than Trixie Cruz-Angeles, the presidential spokesperson, said Malacanang has disowned the document and declared the purchase order illegal.

The signatories of the sugar papers resigned.

The main signatory with the rank of undersecretary also apologized “profusely” for his indiscretion.

In the Senate inquiry, it was revealed that Malacanang had ordered to draft a purchase order allegedly on instructions of Vic Rodriguez, the executive secretary.

In the Philippine political setting, the executive secretary is also known as the “Little President.”

As such, Rodriguez being the “Little President” is the country’s most powerful person next to President Marcos Jr.

But Rodriguez neither confirmed nor denied any role in the purchase order.

A few days after the issue exploded in the media, Mr. Marcos Jr. ordered the importation of 100,000 metric tons of sugar.  Funny?

This, after many sectors familiar with the country’s sugar situation insisted there is no shortage of sugar and there is enough supply of the sweetener up to 2023.

Then came a barrage of news that Customs agents had raided warehouses filled with thousands of sacks of sugar, including one storeroom in Bulacan stacked with some 30,000 tons of sugar with alleged recycled import papers.

But even as it was later discovered that the import papers were in order as attested to by six Customs officials from Subic, these same officials would later see themselves getting sacked.

Were they punished for simply doing their job?

Was there a cover-up?

Meanwhile, amid the sugar brouhaha, the alleged shortage of salt supply surfaced.

In no time, the salt supply issue flew thick and thin, triggering the idea of importing the major kitchen component to arrest an “impending” shortage.

And, again, as in the sugar scenario, the salt issue was also being blown into ludicrous proportions as the “real experts” claim that the so-called salt crisis is another “figment of the imagination.”

Notice that sugar and salt are under the Agriculture platform headed no less by Mr. Marcos Jr.

Manning the country’s reins is already a gargantuan effort.

So, why must the Chief Executive bother himself with the troubles of a government branch when common sense tells us that such concerns are best delegated to one of the President’s men?

Think about it, Sir.

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