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The Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. held its General Assembly meeting last June 26, 2020 via Zoom online.  It was attended by SIFI stakeholders from the milling sector, sugarcane planters and the labor sector.

The main agenda of the gathering was the Election for the Board of Trustees and Officers of the SIFI Board. The current members of the SIFI Board were re-elected for CY 2020-2022 upon motion by Mr. Gerard Seno and seconded by Mr. Roland  de la Cruz. The current officers were also retained through a unanimous vote with Mr. Jose V. Ledesma IV filling up the vacancy of Assistant Treasurer.

SIFI President Edith Villanueva presented the foundation’s accomplishments for year 2019 under its four pillars of Education, Health, Livelihood and Advocacy. She proudly announced that among the SIFI graduates this year, 14 have garnered Summa, Magna and Cum Laude honors.

She also shared updates from the Responsible Sourcing from Stakeholders (RSS) project with the primary goal of improving sugarcane farm productivity with safety standards.

A highlight of the meeting was a presentation of the winner of the SIFI Golden Story Writing Competition, Mr. Rene Sellado, a SIFI scholar from AHSSI, Negros Occidental. Coming from humble beginnings as the son of a sugarcane laborer, he worked his way up the ladder by reaping honors in school and eventually landing a good job in Manila.  Currently he is working abroad in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as Business Operations Specialist II at the prestigious Boeing Company. His is an inspiring success story for all SIFI scholars to emulate.

President Villanueva also presented concerns related to project implementation due to the onset of the pandemic since March to the present. An alternative for medical missions that will not be allowed due to Covid restrictions will be the distribution of medical and hygiene kits to sugar worker households containing vitamins, alcohol, paracetamol and washable face masks.  This will be implemented with the assistance of sugar mills and planters associations.  Moreover, livelihood kits for expansion will also be distributed to various SIFI enterprise groups and farmers’ coops in order to assist them to augment their income in the midst of the pandemic.

These optional strategic plans of the foundation were approved by the Board and will take effect at the soonest possible time in order to provide the same quality of service that the sugar workers and their families deserve.