BACOLOD CITY: Acting Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on Monday said he will propose to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) the expansion of the boycott of Coca-Cola products in provincial government-owned facilities because of the company’s “non-utilization of locally-produced sugar.”
Lacson said “what we can do as a local government unit (LGU) is to ban their products from government-sanctioned events and activities like the Panaad Festival.”
He pointed out, however, that the ban cannot be imposed on private individuals.
Earlier, Bago City and Binalbagan town became the latest LGUs in Negros Occidental to answer the province-wide call to boycott Coca-Cola products.
In Executive Order 20, Bago City Mayor Nicolas Yulo ordered the prohibition of “the promotion, advertisement and sale of Coca-Cola products in specific areas and events in Bago City.”
The order said the “non-utilization of locally-produced sugar from sugarcane by Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc, and their importation of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as sweeteners for their beverages has been the subject of displeasure of the Negros Occidental Provincial Government officials and some cities and municipalities in the island.”
Yulo said the prohibition covers the City Hall compound, Bantayan Park, Bago City College, Bago City Sports Center, Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum and Cultural Center, Buenos Aires Mountain Resort and other local-government facilities.
It also covers the promotion and ad sponsorship in all areas, villages and city festivals and events.
The prohibition shall be in effect until Coca-Cola “stops using HFCS and instead utilize locally-produced sugar from sugarcane as sweeteners in their products or until the sugar industry and its leaders have finally resolved the crisis in favor of the sugar industry.”
The order also carries with it a sanction of removal from the stores and keeping of the products by the owner while repeated violation will mean confiscation.
In Binalbagan, Mayor Emmanuel Aranda issued Executive Order 10 prohibiting the selling of Coca-Cola products within the vicinity of festival venues during its Balbagan Festival on May 8-15.
The Sugar Alliance of the Philippines (SAP) welcomed the response of the local governments.
“We are thankful for the continued support of our local chief executives and we join their appeal to their constituents and Negrenses to stop patronizing beverage companies that use HFCS,” Emilo Yulo, SAP spokesman said.
He said that “last week’s sugar composite price is already very alarming and we hope that it will not worsen in the coming weeks especially since the milling season is about to end and we are fast approaching Tiempo Muerto [lean months].”
”We are hoping that other local government units will follow the lead of Bago Mayor Nico Yulo who has expanded the boycott to all government and public facilities and has strongly campaigned against Coca-Cola not just during festivities but until this multinational will show its sincerity by supporting our local sugar growers,” Yap added.
Earlier, Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. ordered the banning of Coca-Cola products in the Panaad festival.
The boycott was also imposed during the town fiestas in Isabela, Hinigaran, Pontevedra and La Carlota City.