Bill seeks limit to sales of sodas-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
MANILA -- A lawmaker proposed a ban on the sale of soft drinks or sweetened drinks in containers over 16 ounces to fight obesity and diabetes.
Valenzuela City Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo said there is a need for government to step in with regulations to guide consumers away from potentially harmful food and drinks.
Gunigundo's proposed "Soda Regulation Act of 2012" will impose trade regulations and stricter implementation of marketing and promotion of soda, soft drinks or sweetened drinks.
The bill requires the mandatory posting of factual health contents and nutritional claims, especially its sugar content, in the label product's container or bottle.
It shall include an understandable message in Filipino printed on it with the words, "Important notice," or their equivalent as its heading.
Manufacturers are also required to include in the content signage in all containers or bottles of soda products or sweetened drinks the statement, "Drinking soda causes obesity and diabetes."
Gunigundo said that it is the state's responsibility to promote the right to health of the people as provided for by the 1987 Constitution.
Citing a study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the lawmaker said obesity is now on the rise among Filipino adults ages 20 and up, and threatens to increase the number of people having degenerative diseases like heart disease, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Gunigundo said the relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.
He noted that a bottle of a regular 8-ounce soda is already loaded with five heaping tablespoons of sugar.
"Any health provider would simply recommend that adults consume less than six teaspoons of sugar a day while kids, only three teaspoons. Health authorities have warned that excessive intake of soda, which some say is habituating can send one's blood sugar shooting up," Gunigundo said.
The proposed law shall prohibit the dissemination of information through advertisements, techniques or schemes on the promise of gain such as prizes in cash or in kind as reward for the purchase of soda which is more than 16 ounces per container in a contest.
It also prohibits the giving of samples and donations of soda products more than 16 ounces per bottle or container.
The bill, now pending before the House committee on trade and industry, imposes a penalty of six years imprisonment or a fine of P100,000 or both against violators. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)