By DIANN IVY CALUCIN
The local government of Quezon City and ImagineLaw held on Monday, Dec. 5, a Christmas party for daycare students and parents at Bahay Bulilit, Brgy. Matandang Balara Barangay Hall in Tandang Sora as part of the campaign promoting trans fat-free products.
Dr. Esperanza Anita Arias, QC Health Office head, welcomed the students of public daycare schools in QC’s third district along with their parents at the Christmas party.
“Unti-unti subuan na po natin ng masusustansyang pagkain ang ating mga anak. Start them young para lumaki po sila na matutupad nila ang mga panagarap nila at para less ang gastos sa ospital. Iyong pong gagastusin, ipunin para sa gagastusin pang-aral ng mga anak (Let’s gradually introduce healthy food to our children. Start them young so that they can grow up fulfilling their dreams and to lessen hospital expenses. Save money for the children’s education),” Arias said.
She also provided a lecture to raise awareness on trans fat consumption through foods that can be bought in groceries.
The city government also urged national government agencies (NGAs) and other local government units (LGUs) to seek trans fat-free alternatives in their food gifts and banquet at holiday parties and public gatherings.
Meanwhile, Jeline Corpuz, a registered nutritionist-dietitian, said no public funds should be used for unhealthy food.
“The government should set a good example to the Filipino people by complying to nutrition, health, and sustainability standards for food items and meals, especially if they are procured using taxpayers’ money,” she said.
Corpuz also lauded Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and the city government for their “Healthy Food Procurement Policy” under Executive Order No. 16 in 2021.
The order mandated that all food, including meals and snacks procured and served by the local government, shall follow the health, nutrition, and sustainability standards.
“We highly urge LGUs and NGAs to follow Quezon City’s example. One of the greatest gifts we can give our employees and constituents this Christmas is the gift of health,” Corpuz added.
The city government said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had released guidelines mandating food manufacturers to remove trans fat in their products.
FDA has set June 18, 2023, for food manufacturers’ compliance with the mandated guidelines of trans fat removal from products, it said.
In line with the event, a cooking demonstration for healthier Noche Buena (Christmas eve dinner) options was held for the parents and daycare workers in the city.
“We have a lot to look forward to in 2023, including a trans fat-free Philippines that will improve Filipinos’ heart health,” said lawyer Ma-Anne Rosales-Sto. Domingo, ImagineLaw’s project manager for Healthy Diets.
“We can start the practice this holiday season by preparing delicious, healthier, and trans fat-free Christmas meals for our families,” she added.
More than 100 children and parents attended the event.
The city government called on the public to check the nutritional facts label of the products and report the ones that still contain trans fat.
ImagineLaw is a non-government organization (NGO) composed of lawyers and advocates working to address policy issues in public health problems.