BOTTLER companies on Tuesday, Aug. 16, confirmed that there’s a shortage of premium refined sugar.

“We confirm our industry is facing a shortage of Premium Refined Sugar — a key ingredient in many of our products,” according to a joint statement issued by Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc., Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. and ARC Refreshments Corp.

The soda companies said they are “working closely with other stakeholders of the industry and the government to address the situation.”

“We thank our customers and the public for their continued support to our products and for their understanding,” they said.

The Philippines’ projected sugar production of 1.8 million metric tons is 200,000 tons short of the annual demand of 2.03 million metric tons seen in the past three years.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) had tried to get the nod for 200,000 metric tons of imported refined and bottlers’ grade sugar for industrial users in early 2022, but local sugar producers secured a temporary restraining order, fearing the importation of cheaper sugar would harm the local industry.

Data from SRA initially showed that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, but Malacañang denied the approval.

Leocadio Sebastian, the Department of Agriculture official who signed the document on behalf of Marcos, has since resigned from his post.

SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica also stepped down amid the sugar shortage issue.