Proposed ordinance banning junk foods in Davao schools gaining ground

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 Nov) – A proposed ordinance prohibiting the selling of junk foods within school premises in this city may be approved this year as the city council’s committee on education eyed to submit reports in December for second reading.

The proposed ordinance aims to ensure that food products sold within school premises and up to 100 meters outside are in accordance with the nutritional needs of the elementary and secondary students.

It was authored by Councilor Rachel Zozobrado, the former chairperson of the committee on education, which is now chaired by Councilor Leah Librado-Yap.

Although it was endorsed in 2010, the committee members had just finalized Monday the definition for “junk food”.

In the draft ordinance, junk food is defined as “a slang word for prepackaged snack food high in calories but low in essential nutrients and high in salt, refined carbohydrates or saturated fats such as salted snack foods, candy, gum, sweet desserts, fried fast food and carbonated drink.”

They also agreed to emphasize that only products in native preparation should be sold in school canteens and vendors within 100 meters from schools.

The City Health Office committed to submit to the committee a list of junk foods on or before November 26.

Attending the committee hearing, Anna Liza L. Rivamonte, president of Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) in the Emar Learning Center, said she supports the ban of junk foods because she wants her daughter to be healthy always and to eat only nutritious food.

“She is precious to me. That’s why I don’t want her to eat junk food. It’s bad for her health,” she added.

Also supporting the proposed ordinance, Lani A. Lee, board member of the Ateneo de Davao Parents Teachers Community, Inc., said that as a mother, she promotes healthy diet to her family and wants to regulate the food intake of her child.

“Since the school is the second place where they spend the longest time aside from home, so it is just right to regulate the food being sold in the school,” she said.

Other participants in the hearing include PTA members, administrators and canteen managers of the Holy Cross College of Sasa, Stella Maris Academy, University of Mindanao and Assumption College of Davao.

Members of the Mothers for Peace Movement in Mindanao (M4P) earlier expressed support for the proposed ordinance and initiated a “food revolution” campaign or the fight against junk foods in city schools starting last July. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)