PROTECTING FILIPINO MOTHERS AND CHILDREN FROM THE “Dangerous Bill”
The Dangerous Bill in Congress titled “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 and Milk Regulation Act” is a milk industry masterminded act.
It aims to legitimize the multinational milk industry’s marketing promotions and advertising. It hides under the goodness of Breastfeeding but in truth it perpetuates its stranglehold on the Filipino consumers by misleading them to become milk addicts from womb to tomb in the name of profit.
The Save the Babies Coalition composed of 100 NGOs, people’s organizations and mother support groups whose majority members are community-based appeals to the public, policymakers and press to protect breastfeeding consequently our innate Filipino food and culture. This is the time to defend the Milk Code that the late President Cory C. Aquino has signed into law last October, 1986. It is her legacy in defense of the Filipino generation, our country’s health and wealth.
Save the Babies Coalition composed of parents and leaders vehemently protest this insidious Bill that will wreck our nation’s economy. A recent scientific publication Journal of Human Lactation, has shown that for the Philippines, the economic burden from infant formula purchase and out-of-pocket medical expenditure exceeded US $400 Million (P18 Billion) in 2003 alone, its forecasted a much higher amount for the recent years. The cost mentioned in the article, was aside from other costs, such as absenteeism and the risk of childhood death and illnesses. These expenses caused an unnecessary burden on Filipino families and could instead have been invested in education and other social services.
The risks of artificial milk on health for both mother and child is devastating such as asthma,diarrhea, juvenile diabetes, heart disease,ear infections,cancer for both mother and child etc. It has been scientifically proven with evidence-based researches conducted by scientists with no commercial interest. The working parents and attending physicians must be supported with updated, complete, unbiased information not funded by milk industry. A WHO study has shown that children are introduced/given infant formula if the mother has seen television advertising of the product or if a doctor has recommended it. At the same time focus group discussions in the Philippines (both rural and urban settings) have shown how media advertisements and sales representatives entice parents on using the unnecessary product.
The milk ads nutritional and health claims are bogus, that’s why the World Health Assembly has urged governments to ban them. For example, DHA and ARA are extracts from fungi and algae and can never compete with God’s milk which is breastfeeding, mom-made not man-made. Breastmilk is perfect, not contaminated. There is no substitute.
The Dangerous Bill wants to legitimize all milk companies ads claim that the Milk Code’s revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (2006) disallowed. Supreme Court upheld the Milk Code rIRR in its decision last October, 2007 such as: no health and nutritional claims such as “Gifted Child”, “100% Nourishment/Panatag”, “Immunity Boosters” “All Around Health”, “EyeQ”, no donations, no total effects in its products ads example showing images of mothers with babies and toddlers, no gifts of any sorts etc. Ads seduction, gifts inducement, false promises glamorized by celebrities confused the consumers and undermined breastfeeding power. Thus, the strength of the Milk Code is to protect the Filipino people from dangers.
The Supreme Court’s decision on the Milk Code and rIRR has emphasized that milk company representatives must not be involved in any policymaking process in relation to breastfeeding/ infant and young child feeding because of conflict of interest. But the Dangerous Bill will allow milk companies involvement in all breastfeeding education, communication and information as well as in the production of materials. It is like opening the daycare doors to the pedophiles.
The three breastfeeding protective laws namely: Milk Code law or E.O. 51 (1986), Breastfeeding/Rooming-In Act or RA 7600 (1992) and Expanded Breastfeeding Act or RA 10028 (2009) specifically supports working women to breastfeed successfully at home and at workplace. Guiding steps showed that breastmilk can be expressed and preserved without refrigeration at 8-10 hours lifespan and can be given to the child at home. Thus, RA 10028 protects working mothers for a paid breastfeeding breaks at 40 minutes. But the Dangerous Bill wants to break the rule and punish women not to be able to pursue its nurturing role with breastfeeding management at workplace.
Obviously this Dangerous Bill bows to the multinational milk companies mission: Profits over health, greedy act to amass more sales and bleed the Filipino people to poverty and malnutrition.
The Dangerous Bill wants the market share for babies at age six months who should be developing good eating habits with natural food. After six months of life, the baby starts to learn to eat with the family food and continue breastfeeding to ensure optimum health. Breastfeeding is a nutritious food resource at 6-9 months, it provides 80% energy calories, 60% for 10-11 months and 40%-30% energy calories for a toddler and young child.
We plead to all the House of Representatives: with your kindness DO NOT SIGN your names to the Dangerous Bill, it means havoc to the future of the Filipinos. It will damaged the lives of the vulnerable infants and young children as well as the mothers who will be dependent on a product of want not need but greed.
Who will be responsible for the Filipino child who will be sick 25x (twenty-five times) at risk if on artificial milk feeding?
Who lose, who gains?
Save the Babies Coalition calls for public outcry: NO TO DANGEROUS BILL!