Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. found himself inside the Bacolod hospital after getting injured while attending a local protest.
Reyes’ group, together with an estimated crowd of around 6,000 headed by National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Gabriela Negros, staged a protest against the Coca Cola Company in Bacolod City on Wednesday denouncing the company for using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
The protest in front of Coca Cola plant in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City, became chaotic when protesters blocked a delivery truck exiting the front gate.
Report said the driver, Andres Macabebe and his two helpers (pahinante), returned inside the plant and started throwing empty Coca Cola bottles at the protesters. Authorities said the three were joined by several other employees who were trapped inside the plant.
“Gulpi lang nag-inulan botelya sang coke, damo nag-kalaigo kalabanan sa goya” [There was a sudden raining of Coke bottles and many got hit mostly in their faces], one of the local protesters said.
Reyes reportedly hit by at least 4 times as he was in front of the gate where Macabebe and his colleagues positioned and started throwing bottles.
The militant leader reportedly suffered a broken lower jaw and some deep cuts caused by broken bottles. He had to undergo facial surgeries.
The company denied financial support and accused the protesters of starting the problem.
The group also lambasted Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol for allegedly “favoring” a foreign multinational firm.
The protesters also called for a boycott of Coke and other beverage firms using HFCS, claiming this has caused a drop in domestic sugar prices from above P1,800 per 50-kilogram (LKg) in December to a little above P1,300 Lkg last week.
Aside from Reyes, six other protesters were brought to Western Visayas Regional Hospital due to minor injuries.
The militant leader is now recovering at Riverside Medical Center, while his group demanding the company to pay his ₱185,000 hospital bill. /Troy Mangahas/