BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Local government units in Negros Occidental have banned the sale of Coca-Cola products during their fiestas in support of the sugar industry’s protest against the beverage firm’s use of high fructose corn syrup.
The latest to join the bandwagon is Pontevedra town, which confirmed Thursday that Mayor Jose Benito Alonso has issued an executive order prohibiting the sale of Coke products during the Handurayo Festival and annual town fiesta from May 4 to 9.
The executive order said the unabated entry of HFCS into the country has led to the drop in sugar prices. It also cited Sugar Order No. 3 issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration regulating the importation of HFCS.
“The people of Pontevedra (are) primarily dependent on the sugar industry hence, the importation of HFCS has adverse effects to our local economy as well as to the thousands in the labor sector,” the order said. “Thus our local government is affirming its solidarity with the sugar industry considering the small farmers and other beneficiaries and their families who will greatly suffer as they are highly dependent on sugar for livelihood.”
Also boycotting Coke is Hinigaran town, which is holding the Hinugyaw Festival from April 20 to 30, and La Carlota City, which is staging the Pasalamat Festival from April 24 to 30.
La Carlota Mayor Luis Jalandoni III said the ban on Coke products will also cover other celebrations in the city.
Earlier, Isabela town banned Coke products during its town fiesta from April 19 to 22.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. was the first to declare the ban during this year’s Panaad sa Negros Festival from April 22 to 30 in Bacolod City.
He cited SRA data showing that the volume of HFCS inflow being consumed by soda and beverage companies is equivalent to more than five million 50-kilogram bags of sugar.
“Imagine the far-reaching effect of this importation to the economy and to the millions in the labor sector,” he added.