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BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance strengthening children’s access to healthy foods within one hundred meters perimeter in public and private schools in the city and providing penalties for violation of the provisions of the measure.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the measure aims to protect the children of the city to exposure from processed foods, curb risks associated with unhealthy foods, and ensure that the children are provided with healthy choices in purchasing foods.
The ordinance stipulated that the provisions of the measure shall apply to all private and public preparatory, primary and secondary schools in the city and the 100-meter perimeter of the said schools.
Under the proposed ordinance, it is unlawful for any person engaged in selling food within the premises as earlier mentioned to sell or distribute any junk food and sugary drinks to all students covered by the measure.
The ordinance added that affected canteen or store operators shall be given 30 days grace period to prepare and comply with the provisions of the proposal.
The ordinance the Baguio City Schools Division office in coordination with the City Nutrition Office and the various barangay committee chairpersons on health in every barangay to conduct a concentrated enforcement campaign in monitoring and implementing the pertinent provisions as well as identifying the list of prohibited junk foods and sugary drinks and together, the said offices shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations that will guarantee the strict enforcement of the measure.
Any person found violating the provisions of the ordinance shall be penalized with a fine of P1,000 for the first offense, a fine of P2,000 for the second offense and a fine of P5,000 for the third offense aside from the revocation of the duly issued business permit for the said individual to conduct business.
Section 13, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution recognizes the State policy to promote and protect the physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being of the youth and in the same manner, Section 15, Article 2 of the same document mandates the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instil health consciousness among them.
Earlier, Department of Education Division Order No. 13, series of 2017 reiterates the policy guidelines on healthy food and beverage choices in schools and Department of Education offices for the promotion and development of healthy eating habits among the youth and DepEd employees by making available healthy, nutritious, and affordable menu choices and for setting good standards.
For the guidance and information of all concerned, the ordinance claimed that the policy aims to provide guidance in the selling and marketing of foods and beverages in schools among other places within the vicinity of education institutions. However, the 460,000 schools in the country catering to kindergarten to Grade 12 levels, there are no routine measures on which to gauge the effectiveness of the DepEd orders in place and the lack of human and financial resources for its implementation and monitoring restricts its impact. By Dexter A. See