BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia expressed support to proposed ban of Coca-Cola products during the 13th BacoLaodiat Festival on February 15 to 18.
Leonardia said Wednesday afternoon that he already aired his sentiments to the BacoLaodiat Festival organizers that he is for the sugar industry.
Sugar industry stakeholders protested starting last year against Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines Inc. upon knowing that it is using high fructose corn syrup in its beverages instead of just locally-produced sugar.
“I am for the sugar industry so I go along the lines for the protection and promotion of the sugar industry because it is the industry that actually also started in Bacolod,” he said.
He added that the city’s economy had started on sugar industry and even up to this time when the city had sufficiently diversified, it is still a major factor because many Bacoleños are dependent on this industry.
In December, the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines requested the City Government to ban the Coca-Cola products in the BacoLaodiat Festival.
Manuel Lamata, president of United Sugar Producers’ Federation of the Philippines, had earlier sent a letter to Leonardia calling for a ban of Coke products at the BacoLaodiat Festival.
“I find the request meritorious, considering we are talking here of the sugar industry, and the survival of the sugar industry is a matter of great concern for all of us in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental,” Leonardia then said.
The mayor added that he believes the BacoLaodiat organizers will follow his advice to ban Coke.
In October last year, the sponsorship and sale of Coca-Cola products were banned during the MassKara Festival from October 1 to 22.