Central Mindanao Newswatch – local newspaper
MALAYBALAY CITY (Apr. 20) – The two sugar milling companies in Bukidnon have resumed its regular operation starting April 20.
This happened after Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. gives the go signal for the resumption of the milling operation of BUSCO Sugar Milling Co. Inc. in Quezon town and Crystal Sugar Co. Inc. in Maramag town on April 16.
The management of Busco Sugar Milling Company through its Planter Relation Officer informed sugar cane planters that they are accepting cane deliveries starting at 8:00 a.m. on April 18.
Busco said in support of Gov. Zubiri’s desire to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they will continue to take all precautionary measures. Busco added that they need everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Busco aimed to mill 100,000 to 110,000 tons of sugar canes weekly.
The operation of the two milling companies was halted on March 28 after the implementation of the general community quarantine in Bukidnon due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both sugar milling firms said that the slack time should be used to disinfect their premises.
In the latest order of the Governor, the stricter General Community Quarantine in Bukidnon will last up to April 26.
A report of Inquirer.net on April 15 said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) appealed to Bukidnon Gov. Zubiri to lift his orders, shutting down sugar mills and plantations in the province because “such restrictive policy would only result in an artificial shortage and thus price spikes.”
DA Secretary Wiliam Dar said, “such LGU policies counter the DA Memorandum Circular No. 7, issued on March 17, 2020, implementing a Food Resiliency Protocol approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).”
Zubiri has recently issued a directive placing the entire province of Bukidnon under stricter General Community Quarantine or total lockdown from April 13 to 26 after recording its first COVID-19 case. This time, borders were shut to both residents and non-residents of the province.
Among Gov. Zubiri’s countermeasures against the spread of COVID-19 is the shutting down of agri-related businesses such as sugar mills, pineapple, and banana plantations for two weeks or from April 13 to April 26.
Essential establishments, including groceries, banks, hospitals, and pharmacies, among others, remain operational.
Accordingly, a total of about 19,000 employees are working at the two sugar mills and several banana and pineapple companies in Bukidnon.