Softdrinks, junk food ban in public schools eyed

A CEBU Provincial Board member wants to ban the sale of softdrinks and junkfoods within 70 meters from public schools in Cebu Province.

PB Member Christopher Baricuatro told reporters yesterday that he plans to file a proposed ordinance covering the matter on February due to calls from local health and education officials to eradicate the selling of unhealthy food in schools.

Baricuatro, who chairs the committee on public health, social services and education, said that he thought of filing a legislative measure against unhealthy foods due to the rampant dental and nutrition problems observed in school children in the Province.

Based on the 2015 oral health status by the Provincial Government, 71 percent of Cebuanos are suffering from tooth decay while 45 percent have gum disease.

Dental disease also ranks ninth in the 10 leading causes of morbidity in Cebu Province from January to June 2016.

Threat

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that malnutrition in all its forms has become a significant threat in human health.

Unhealthy food eating patterns, such as high intake in sugar, fats and oils has also led to an upward surge in overweight and obesity.

Baricuatro said that through his ordinance, they can hopefully prevent such problems from prevailing in public schools.

In his proposal, Baricuatro said they will prohibit the selling of soft drinks and junkfoods inside and outside public schools.

He, however, said that sellers of such products can still sell provided that they will be 50 to 70 meters away from the school.

He said that while the Department of Education issued a policy regarding the ban of selling softdrinks and junkfoods inside schools, there is no penalty clause that would allow them to prosecute those selling the products.

With the proposed ordinance, he said they can include penalty clauses against the sellers.

At present, Baricuatro said that his office is still drafting his ordinance.

He hopes to submit his proposed ordinance before the PB next month. (JKV)
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