COCA-COLA Femsa Philippines said Tuesday, April 18, its bottling facility in Bacolod City produces beverages with 100 percent locally-sourced sugar.
The company has maintained this practice since it opened the plant in Barangay Mansilingan in 1998, it said in a press statement.
Lawyer Adel Tamano, Coca-Cola Philippines vice president for public affairs and communications, said it is the thrust of the company to support the local industries, including various stakeholders in and outside their value chain.
“We wish to continue to work with the government, and the stakeholders of the local sugar industry to reach a solution to the current situation that is acceptable to all concerned,” he said in a statement.
“A study cited by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and conducted by the University of the Philippines School of Statistics states that the total local beverage industry, which includes Coca-Cola, uses approximately 40 percent of the total Philippine domestic sugar production,” the statement said, adding that the company is one of the main purchasers of local sugar.
The beverage giant is facing controversy after sugar industry stakeholders claimed it is using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as alternative sweetener.
Various sectors, including local government units and restaurants in Negros Occidental, have boycotted Coke products.
In a recent meeting with officials of the Department of Agriculture and SRA, Coca-Cola executives said the beverage company has already increased by 50 percent their purchase of local sugar this 2017, the statement said.
Lawyer Juan Lorenzo Tanada, corporate affairs and legal director of Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines, said: “We are committed to making sure that we are able to serve Filipino communities through our extensive use of local and global resources and by providing Filipinos with opportunities for productive lives.”
In response, former Negros Occidental Vice Governor Emilio Yulo III, spokesperson of Sugar Alliance of the Philippines, said in a text message that the claim of the beverage giant that its Bacolod plant is using 100 percent local sugar is “self-serving allegation meant to counter the growing boycott movement.”