Valderrama admits support for Robredo

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Admitting that he openly supported the presidential bid of then Vice President Leni Robredo during the May 9 elections, Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama clarified that he did not seek, nor even consider the possibility of being appointed as Planters’ representative to the Sugar Regulatory Administration Board.

Valderrama made the disclosure in an open letter, apparently in response to Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer’s statement that he will lobby for the revocation of the former’s appointment. Ferrer is the Personal Adviser in Western Visayas of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“When my colleagues informed me that I was nominated, I tried to beg off, citing among other reasons my wife’s current medical condition. Knowing the pressures that would be brought to bear on the SRA by present circumstances, I wanted to avoid unnecessary stress that could affect my family at this time,” Valderrama said.

Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama has been appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as Board member of Sugar Regulatory Administration. | Archie Alipalo photo

“But when Malacañang called to inform me of my appointment, I was left with little choice but to consider this my ‘tour of duty’, an opportunity to serve the industry that has been the source of livelihood for so many people, including my family,” he added.

The Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations Inc., Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers Inc., and the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters Inc., which collectively comprise 57.48 percent of total sugar production, expressed their support to the appointment of Valderrama.

In a joint statement, the three groups said that Valderrama is an excellent choice to represent the planters to the Sugar Board, as he adheres to the spirit of teamwork and consultation in matters that affect the industry as a whole.

They added that Valderrama’s long years of active involvement in the sugar industry have shown his readiness to work with industry leaders and stakeholders, especially the small farmers.

While he respects the decision of the President and is thankful that a Negrense was appointed as SRA Board member, Ferrer said he was provoked by Valderrama, who accused his group of lobbying for the revocation of his appointment, which he has not done.

“He provoked me so, I will find a way for his appointment to be revoked,” Ferrer said.

Valderrama admitted that he wondered why he was the one appointed and not someone close to the current administration.

“But how do you say no, if this gesture was, in fact, a genuine manifestation of the President’s call for unity,” he said.

Valderrama said he accepted the position with a motivation and fervent wish to help unite the industry, to put their acts together, to speak with one voice, and to work as one, to address the many challenges confronting the sugar industry in these difficult times.

He said he sees no problem with the move to revoke his appointment. “I am not indispensable nor do I covet the position. I will not turn my back on the chance to serve the industry, but I do not wish to burden the President if this has become a problem for him. There is no need for debate or recrimination. I am at the President’s disposal.”

“If the President finds it appropriate to enlist someone else, let us respect his prerogative and wish them success,” Valderrama stressed./GB

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