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At a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban stated that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ordered the purchase of sugar “through selected importers.”

Panganiban made the testimony during a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing into the February 9 importation of 260 20-foot containers of sugar from Thailand sans a sugar order.

Panganiban informed the committee that Marcos had phoned him following a Cabinet meeting and advised importing sugar “immediately” due to its 8.7% inflation-related contribution.

The DA official said he informed Marcos of the need for imports, explaining that the country needs an additional 455,000 metric tons of sugar because domestic producers can only supply 1.7 million metric tons while the national demand is 2.2 million metric tons.

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“On that basis, I called a meeting with the Sugar Regulatory Administration and threshed out this problem with them. Ang sabi ni Presidente ‘Lets do it ourselves muna.’ So two days after, he called again a meeting with me and several importers and he told the same thing. And told us that we really need to import at this point because baka tumaas pa ang inflation rate at tataas pa ang presyo sa public market,” Panganiban said.