Administrator Regina Bautista-Martin flew to the United States on May 4-10, 2013 to join the Philippine delegation in expressing support to the US Farm Bill, particularly on its sugar program component that should extend for another five years and provide for the Philippine quota of 13.5% from the total volume each year.
The group met with three congressional offices in which they indicated strong support for the renewal of the sugar program, ditto with the senior staff of the US House Committee on Agriculture, the US Trade Representative’s Office and the US Department of Agriculture. In the process, the RP delegation was able to obtain positive positions and encouraging insights on the prospects of continued trade with the US.
One important phase of the trip was the delegation’s meeting with the US Department of Labor which tackled the status of the $15 M Anti-Child Labor Project in RP’s sugarcane areas which is funded by the latter.
USDOL officials are actually interested on the social amelioration program being implemented by the Philippine sugar industry which assists laborers through mandatory liens collected from each bag of sugar produced. Administrator Martin, in behalf of the Philippine delegation assured to provide more salient information about the program.