Fueled by its advocacy to promote the health, nutrition and safety of its residents, employees and beneficiaries, Quezon City became the first local government unit (LGU) in the country to establish a healthy food procurement policy.

Mayor Joy Belmonte issued Executive Order No. 16 S-2021 entitled “Quezon City Healthy Public Food Procurement Policy”, which aims to positively affect the overall health and nutrition of its constituents.

In her order, Belmonte emphasized the need to focus on health and nutrition, mentioning that high sodium intake, low intake of whole grains and low intake of fruits are the leading causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) globally.

“In the Philippines, NCDs account for 68 percent of all deaths and one in every three Filipinos is likely to die before the age of 70 from one of the four major NCDs, such as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases,” Belmonte said in her EO.

The EO mandates all offices, departments, institutions and task forces of the Quezon City government to ensure that all food and food supplies procured by the city government for its various offices, projects and programs must comply with the QC Nutrition Standards.

The directive also applies to all entities involved in the process of procuring or supplying food for the local government, including food suppliers.

The Office of the City Administrator is the lead agency mandated by the EO to issue detailed guidelines and oversee its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department will serve as the supporting lead agency, setting the short-term, mid-term and long-term targets for the implementation of the EO in relation to Quezon City’s commitment under the C40 Good Food Declaration, Partnership for Healthy Cities and other relevant commitments.

The Quezon City Health Department will review and update the QC Nutrition Standards every three years and develop reference materials and tools to facilitate the EO’s implementation.

The Procurement Department, General Services Department, Small Business and Cooperatives Development Promotions Office, Sustainable Development Affairs Unit, Market Development and Administration Department, Public Affairs and Information Services Department, and the Barangay and Community Relations Department also have key roles to play under the EO.

The SBCDPO and the SDAU are ordered to implement a program that will promote local sourcing of healthy food and healthy food ingredients from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

In coordination with the MDAD, the SBCDPO and the SDAU will collaborate with traditional markets as suppliers of healthy foods by coordinating with vendors’ cooperatives and other stakeholders in traditional markets.

While barangays are not part of the EO, they have been highly encouraged to much positive response to likewise adopt the same policy in their local food procurement policies and plans.