Philippine leader threatens to fire officials in sugar mess

Aug 11, 2022, 4:01 AM | Updated: 6:11 am
FILE- Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his first state of the nation address in Q...

FILE- Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his first state of the nation address in Quezon City, Philippines, Monday, July 25, 2022. Marcos Jr. may fire top agricultural officials if an investigation shows that they maliciously decided to import sugar amid a shortage without his approval and then publicized the plan, the press secretary said Thursday Aug. 11. 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, Pool, File)

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila, Pool, File)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president has threatened to fire top agricultural officials if an investigation shows they improperly made and announced a decision to import sugar amid a shortage without his approval, his press secretary said Thursday.

It’s the stiffest punitive step newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. could take against officials over an apparent irregularity early in his six-year term. He took office on June 30 after a landslide election victory and inherited daunting problems.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said a resolution authorizing the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar by the Sugar Regulatory Board, which Marcos Jr. heads, was posted on the website of the Sugar Regulatory Administration under the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.

Marcos Jr. has temporarily taken the helm of the Department of Agriculture due to a looming food crisis and skyrocketing commodity prices sparked in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Cruz-Angeles said the president never approved or was aware of the resolution to import sugar, which was signed by an agriculture undersecretary and other officials who are being investigated. The document was taken down from the website by Thursday.

“This resolution is illegal,” she told a news conference. “An investigation is ongoing to determine whether any acts that will cause the president to lose trust and confidence in his officials can be found or if there is malice or negligence involved.”

“If such findings are made, then the only determination left will be how many heads are going to roll,” she said.

Officials dealing with sugar shortages and fast-rising prices, caused largely by the devastation of sugarcane fields, milling factories and refineries by a powerful typhoon in December, have opted to secure additional sugar imports to ease the crisis and prevent the country from running out of supplies.

But Marcos Jr. rejected the proposal, Cruz-Angeles said, adding a decision to import sugar has to be studied to strike a balance between protecting consumers from rising prices while making sure “that we do not destroy the local industry.”

The harvest season will also come soon, she said.

Marcos Jr. also inherited a pandemic-battered economy, lingering coronavirus threats, deep poverty, decades-long Muslim and communist insurgencies, law and order problems and political divisions inflamed by the recent elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A baker stacks loaves of Egyptian traditional "baladi" flatbread outside a bakery, in the Old Cairo...
Associated Press

Poverty and inflation: Egypt’s economy hit by global turmoil

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Stores are selling winter clothes from last season in the middle of summer. Repair shops lack spare parts for appliances. There’s a waiting list to buy a new car. Egypt, a country of more than 103 million people, is running low on foreign currency needed to buy essentials like […]
1 day ago
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical...
Associated Press

Florida monitors a growing Tropical Storm Ian in Caribbean

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities and residents in Florida were keeping a cautious eye on Tropical Storm Ian as it rumbled through the Caribbean on Sunday, expected to continue gaining strength and become a major hurricane in the coming days on a forecast track toward the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency […]
1 day ago
A Carolina dog waits for his owner to vote at a polling station in Rome, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. It...
Associated Press

Italians vote in election that could take far-right to power

ROME (AP) — Italians were voting on Sunday in an election that could move the country’s politics sharply toward the right during a critical time for Europe, with war in Ukraine fueling skyrocketing energy bills and testing the West’s resolve to stand united against Russian aggression. Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0500GMT). The counting of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: September 25, Sandra Day O’Connor sworn in

Today in History Today is Sunday, Sept. 25, the 268th day of 2022. There are 97 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Sept. 25, 1957, nine Black students who’d been forced to withdraw from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, because of unruly white crowds were escorted to class by […]
1 day ago
Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi acknowledges the audience applause after addressing the 77th sess...
Associated Press

China on Taiwan: ‘External interference’ won’t be tolerated

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China underscored its commitment Saturday to its claim on Taiwan, telling assembled world leaders that anyone who gets in the way of its determination to reunify with the self-governing island would be “crushed by the wheels of history.” The language was forceful but, for Chinese leadership, well within the realm of […]
1 day ago
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announces a new federal office of envir...
Associated Press

Biden administration launches environmental justice office

WARRENTON, N.C. (AP) — President Joe Biden’s top environment official visited what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement Saturday to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to underserved communities burdened by pollution. Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Philippine leader threatens to fire officials in sugar mess