January 12, 2017 12:30 AM

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Congress is the proper venue for a hearing in aid of legislation on the entry of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by beverage companies into the country, Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said on Jan. 11, 2017.

Lacson expressed concern over the issue even as he called on "stakeholders of the sugar industry to continue to dialogue with food processors and industrial users."

"They should be reminded that they could kill an industry that patronizes their product," the vice governor said.

Sugar planters groups have issued statements condemning the acts of the soft drinks and beverage companies in the Philippines.

They claimed that the sugar industry is losing P10.5 billion to HFCS used by beverage firms.

Lacson said the Sanggunian Panlalawigan will support any moves of Congress to investigate it.

He added that the SP needs to gather evidence "to prove that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are in these HFCS."

"That would admittedly be a challenge," he pointed out.

But, if there is evidence, "we can call for a hearing at our level," he added.

Meanwhile, Board Member Salvador Escalante said that with the existing provincial ordinance banning the entry of GMO's into the province, "these products should be banned entry."

Escalante said he will support any legislative action by the SP.

Earlier, BM Alain Gatuslao, committee on laws chair, said that he will check existing ordinances "for possible violations" and if needed conduct an investigation.


He pointed out that the issue is "more than just an economic unfairness but more on the health risks.”