DAVAO City Councilor Pilar Braga expressed concern that the rising price of sugar would force consumers to use the prohibited "magic sugar."

Braga said she fears that because of the continued increase in sugar price, residents may resort to the cancer-causing sugar substitute also called "sodium cyclamate", "Neotogen", and "magic sugar".

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"There might be a possibility that people would do that," Braga said in an interview.

The City Council, on September 2009, passed an ordinance banning magic sugar.

The matter came to the attention of the city legislators when Braga, who is the resolution proponent, reported the widespread use of the banned substance.

Braga said the use of magic sugar is popular among street vendors. A pinch of magic sugar is equal to one kilo of sugar extracted from sugar cane, making it cheaper for small vendors.

When dissolved, magic sugar turns the water into a pinkish shade, reports said.

Braga said the council may request City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to re-activate the Task Force on Magic Sugar.

"We also want to know if it is still in the market and is it still used by the vendors. We would also want the public not to use the substance because it's not good for the body," Braga said.

"Those most vulnerable to this (magic sugar) are the children who buy food from vendors outside their schools. I really hope the people will choose health over profit," she added.

The ordinance banning magic sugar set penalties on its use -- P1,000 on first offense or one month imprisonment, P2,000 on second offense or two months imprisonment, and P3,000 on third offense or three months imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported that refined sugar has hit a staggering price of P60 per kilo in some areas of Metro Manila.

In Davao City, the price of refined sugar increased by P2 per kilo based on the price monitoring of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Davao Region.

In supermarkets, white sugar is being sold at P45 while its price was only P43 a month ago. Brown sugar, on the other hand, is being sold at P37.50, while its price a month ago was only P34. (JCZ/With Sunnex)