A proposed ordinance banning the sale of sugar-based drinks and junk food within 50-70 meters from elementary and secondary schools in Cebu will soon be presented to the Cebu provincial board for deliberation.
Provincial Board (PB) member Christopher Baricuatro, chairman of the committee on health said he wants to submit his draft ordinance during a session next month.
Baricuatro said he wants to penalize those who will sell soft drinks and junk food such as chips, within the prohibited zone.
“We’re still coming up with the details of the penalty. But this is why there is a need to have an ordinance banning soft drinks and junk food because the DepEd (Department of Education) order does not actually have any penalty,” he stated.
The PB member was referring to DepEd Order (DO) No. 13, Series of 2017 which was approved last March 2017, which mandates public schools, as well as DepEd offices, to sell healthier food and beverages in their respective canteens, therefore prohibiting the sale of soft drinks and junk food.
The DO however does not carry any penalties and is limited to public schools only.
Baricuatro said they plan to include areas around private schools in the proposed ban.
Approval of the ordinance by the PB could not come at a better time when prices of sugar-based drinks are expected to increase following the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law that imposes a higher excise tax on sugar-based products.
Baricuatro said the Train law will reinforce their aim to teach children to control their intake of soft drinks.
“This proposed ordinance will really help, because the children’s allowance, instead of buying soft drinks and junk food, will be spent on healthier food. And then the prices of soft drinks have increased, it will prompt them to bring water all the time, which is cheaper,” he explained.
He also said provincial dentists informed him the children in different parts of the province have relatively poor oral hygiene.
“These dentists do their dental missions around Cebu, and they told us that most children admitted to drinking too much soft drinks, and eating other sugar-based products, that actually lead to cavities,” he said.