SO IS it Coke with sugar or with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? That seems to be question.

SunStar Bacolod noted that Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines reported that Coke’s bottling facility in Bacolod City produces soda mixed with 100 percent locally-produced sugar.

So Negrense consumers have nothing to fret. Hotshot corporate lawyer Adel Tamano, Coca-Cola Philippines vice president for public affairs and communications, insisted that the company has been producing sugar-based beverages since it opened the plant in Barangay Mansilingan in 1998.

According to Tamano, the company focuses on supporting the local industries, including various stakeholders in and outside their value chain.

Another corporate lawyer Juan Lorenzo Tañada, 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.

So, refined sugar or HFCS? I have a problem with this choice. So does the Department of Health (DOH).

Last month, the DOH gave its full support to the proposed bill that seeks to ban the sale of sodas or soft drinks and unhealthy beverages in schools.

That (soft drink ban) is already part of our standards for healthy settings in schools, said Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.

If enacted, the law will ban unhealthy drinks in schools to provide only healthy drinks to their students, the DOH Secretary added.

In 2007, the Department of Education issued a memorandum prohibiting the sale of carbonated drinks and artificially flavored juices inside canteens of all public schools.

Edukasyon party-list Representative Salvador Belano wants to go beyond this memo. Belano said the sale of unhealthy drinks in public school continues despite the directive, urging him to propose a law that regulates or bans the practice in all of the country’s 46,000 schools.

The choice should not be between sugar and HFCS, or even between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola.

It’s like being asked to choose the brand of cigarettes to smoke. The choice should be to smoke or not to smoke, drink healthy versus unhealthy drinks.

Cigarette manufacturers are mandated by Republic Act 10643 to comply with the new packaging rules one year after the issuance of the templates.

Will we soon see a similar policy requiring softdrink companies to label their products with graphic health warnings on the dangers of sodas?