Repost from Chronicles of a Nursing Mom Blog


205 congressmen misled with real intent of proposed
“Breastfeeding Promotion and Infant Formula Regulation Act”

            Breastfeeding advocates denounce the proposed House Bill entitled “An Act Promoting A Comprehensive Program on Breastfeeding Practices and Regulating The Trade, Marketing and Promotions of Certain Foods for Infants And Young Children”, or short title “Breastfeeding Promotion and Infant Formula Regulation Act.”   

The proposed House Bill is a substitution of House Bills No. 3396, 3525, 3527, 3537, as approved by the Technical Working Group held on July 2, 2012.

            According to Innes Fernandez, lead convener of Save the Babies Coalition, the consolidated bill includes provisions authored by Reps. Magtanggol T. Gunigundo I, Josephine Vernonique R. Lacson-Noel, Lani Mercado-Revilla, Lucy Torres-Gomez and Rufus Rodriguez that undermine breastfeeding and indulge milk manufacturers.

“The true intention of the “Breastfeeding Promotion and Infant Formula Regulation Act” is to water down the Milk Code, or Executive Order 51,” Fernandez declared. 

In the proposed House Bill, milk companies will be allowed to advertise their products intended for children over six months; conduct promotion on breastfeeding; give information, education, and communication materials about breastfeeding; place health and nutritional claims for their products; and donate infant formula during times of disaster, calamities, and emergency cases.

All those provisions are prohibited under the Milk Code

In their position paper, Save the Babies stated that the “consolidated Bill does not serve the interest of the Filipino people, rather it propagates the commercial interest of the multinational milk companies.”

She also condemns the manner in which the signatures of 205 representatives were acquired.  “205 representatives were misled, misinformed, and even deceived to believe that this proposed bill will help improve the health and welfare of children and women,” Fernandez revealed.

            The Save Babies Coalition is comprised of four non-government organizations namely: Civil Society for Educational Reform, Ecowaste Management Coalition, Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies Inc., Health Justice and Mother Support Groups Nationwide.

            Likewise, various medical professional organizations released a position statement on the consolidated House Bill on breastfeeding.  Speaking on behalf of “millions of Filipino infants and young children, their mothers and fathers”, the group expressed dissent over the attempts to “substantively amend the existing breastfeeding-related laws” which have shown positive impact in improving breastfeeding rates in the country.

            The statement also reaffirmed their role as responsible health professionals who work “conscientiously towards decreasing child mortality.”

            Child rights organization, Save the Children also issued a statement, opposing the proposed House Bill amendments.  It declared that the modifications will only “advance business and profit interests of milk companies” and called on communities, LGUs, legislators, and even President Benigno Aquino III to uphold the rights of Filipino families by dismissing any changes to the landmark Milk Code.

The Milk Code, which was signed by then President Corazon C. Aquino in October 1986 is based on the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly, is given a “very good” rating by the Breastfeeding Scorecard of the SOWM 2012 and is positively noted by the Concluding Observation of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 2009.

            The breastfeeding advocates are working with various sectors, groups, and noted individuals to help kill the bill.

            Senator Pia Cayetano, author of the Expanded Breastfeeding Act, has been vocal that the proposed provisions will not gain ground in the Senate as long as she is the chairman of the committee on women and health.

No comments :

Post a Comment