Protest vs Coke in Bacolod set March 20

MULTI-SECTORAL groups will hold a rally in front of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City on March 20 to reiterate the call to boycott the beverage giant, which reportedly uses high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in its products.

The Confederation of Sugar Producers Inc., National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, and United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines will lead the protest on Monday, which will start at 8:30 a.m.

It will also be participated by sugar industry workers and agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Wennie Sancho, lead convenor of Save-Sugar Industry Movement (Save-SIM), confirmed their attendance to the protest next week.

Even if the court had already denied the petition of Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the order of Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) regulating the importation of HFCS, they will remain vigilant, Sancho said.

“We will still be on guard because this beverage company has influence,” Sancho said.

He added that the recent development is a “moral and legal victory” for the people and workers in the industry.

Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines had earlier filed a petition asking the court to issue a TRO on SRA’s order to regulate the entry of HFCS.

But the move of the beverage firm was contested by SRA, which filed an opposition before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 98 last week.

The petition for TRO, however, was denied by the court.

The hearing on the petition for injunction will be held on March 20.

SRA chief Anna Rosario Paner assured the industry leaders that they will remain committed to defending the sugar order in any fora.

Under Sugar Order No. 3, HFCS importer must be registered with SRA and must also comply with the requirements otherwise, they will be penalized.

Beverage firms reportedly use HFCS as an alternative to sugar, but its unabated importation is killing the sugar industry.
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