The Quezon City Government is set to implement the measure that will reduce the consumption of sugary drinks in all private and public schools in the city, starting this school year.
City Health Department office in charge Dr. Verdades Linga said they have made the initial inspection and assessment to make the schools ready for its implementation.
Dr. Linga added that they have informed the concerned departments and schools and have assigned focal persons in the barangays who are ready to be activated during the campaign.
Last week, the Joint Task Force met to prepare for the implementation of the ordinance. The task force is composed of the City Health Department as the lead agency, Department of Public Order and Safety, Market Development and Administration Department, Division of City Schools, chairperson of the Committee on Health of every Barangay, and the chairperson of the Committee on Health, Quezon City Council.
Last year, Mayor Herbert M. Bautista approved Ordinance 2579, series of 2017, known as the Quezon City Anti-Junk Food and Sugary Drinks Ordinance, which not only prohibits the sale of junk food and soft drinks to minors, but its promotion as well. The law prohibits sale and promotion within the 100-meter radius around the city’s private and public schools.
Under the measure, establishments caught selling junk food and sugary drinks will be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 and possible revocation of barangay or business permits for the third offense.
Councilor Irene Belmonte, the author of the ordinance, said that the measure aims to promote the health and welfare of the students.
Quezon City’s efforts gained the support of Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and philanthropist, who has pledged to fund $5 million public health projects in 40 cities worldwide through the Bloomberg Philanthropies. Bloomberg is also World Health Organization’s global ambassador for non-communicable diseases.
Quezon City is one among the 45 first world and developing cities that gave their commitment to the Partnership for Healthy Cities in a conference held in Paris last year, where the cities pledged to deliver a high-impact policy or intervention measures to reduce non-communicable disease risk factors in their localities.
Some of these measures include curbing sugary drink consumption, passing laws on public smoking or banning cigarette advertising, cutting salt in food, using cleaner fuels, encouraging cycling and walking, reducing speeding, increasing seatbelt and helmet use, curbing drunk driving or conducting a survey to collect data on the lifestyle risks in cities, among others.
Quezon City’s move to curb consumption on sugary drinks came as the government raised taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to promote a healthier citizenry.