Solon seeks ban on soft drinks, energy drinks in public schools

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2017 07:53 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2017 08:32 PM

MANILA- A lawmaker wants to ban soft drinks and other “unhealthy” beverages like energy drinks in public schools, in a bid to improve the diet of Filipino students.

Speaking to ANC on Friday, 1-ANG EDUKASYON Party-list Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr. said he is worried that students may be taking in too much sugar since soft drinks are commonly sold in school canteens at a cheap price.

“I really think we should start the kids to be healthy…so we might as well come up with regulations to keep our kids healthy,” he said.

Belaro has recently filed House Bill 4039 or the "Healthy Drinks in Public Schools Act" which seeks to regulate the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and energy drinks in all public school canteens in the country, both in elementary and high school level.

The lawmaker also lamented advertisement of such drinks, saying there should be a warning on the possible health effects of the products.

“We see all these advertisements on TV and they seem to inculcate and promote family values for the use of a certain drink but actually there has to be more to it. There has to be a statement that at a certain stage, taking an additional volume of this sugary drinks would be hazardous to your health,” he said.

Though Belaro recognized the existence of the Department of Education Order No. 8 prohibiting the sale of carbonated drinks and junk foods in canteens, he insisted that a survey conducted by his team found that soft drinks are still being sold in some public schools.

“There has to be concrete regulations, there has to be penalties as well to give it (department order) teeth,” he said.

“This is a question of profit. We have to educate them, we have to promote information dissemination so that at the same time they are selling food and are also helping the kids,” he added.