BEVERAGE manufacturer Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI) has backed the recent pronouncement of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to import 150,000 metric tons (MT) of refined sugar, saying the move will help normalize operations.

“We look forward to being able to normalize our bottling operations once we have secured a sufficient supply of bottler’s grade sugar. Meanwhile, we thank those who remain loyal to Coca-Cola products for being patient, as we prepare to once again serve our full line-up of beverages,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

The company said the sugar importation directive, as provided under Sugar Order (SO) No. 2, will help its return to normal operations.

“We are grateful to the government for heeding the industry’s call to import bottler’s grade or premium refined sugar. We appreciate the efforts and welcome this step forward as we work across sectors towards a sustainable solution in addressing the country’s sugar situation,” it added.

Under SO 2, sugar imports will be equally divided between industrial users and consumers in a bid to tame surging prices and boost supply. Imported sugar is expected to arrive no later than Nov. 15.

Last month, CCBPI said that the local food and beverage industry needed at least 450,000 MT of premium refined sugar to serve customer orders.

The company previously disclosed that some of its bottling plants had temporarily suspended operations amid tight sugar supply.

Earlier, beverage manufacturers including CCBPI, Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc., and ARC Refreshments Corp. said that they were having a shortage of premium refined sugar used in producing their products. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave