VALENZUELA CITY – The City Government of Valenzuela announced on Tuesday,
August 15, that it is taking steps to regulate unhealthy food marketing and
advertising that target the children.
“Today, we are building Valenzuela City as a healthy city for children,” declared
Mayor Weslie “Wes” T. Gatchalian during a children’s activity on nutrition hosted
by the city. Proposed Ordinance No. 2023-101 has been filed to prohibit the
marketing of processed food items high in sugar, salt, and fat, alcoholic
beverages, energy drinks, and soda, among others, to children in the city,
Gatchalian reported to the media. “This ordinance is an essential step in building
healthy eating habits among Valenzuelanos and starting these habits young,’ he
Nationwide, 1 in every 7 Filipino school children (ages 5-19 years old) is obese or
overweight, according to the 2021 data of the Food and Nutrition Research
Institute (FNRI). The United Nations Children’s Fund in the Philippines (UNICEF
Philippines) also links the promotion, sale, and consumption of unhealthy food
and beverages to increasing obesity rates among Filipinos. Overweight and obese
indiviiduals ar more at risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as
heart disease and diabetes.
The proposed measure, once approved by the city council, will ban ‘child-directed
marketing’ or any form of marketing that uses images, sounds, and characters or
celebrities that appeal to children or promotional giveaways that include toys,
books, or games and activities that are popular with children.
Sponsorships of the food and beverage industry in activities and settings that
involve children such as schools, parks, palygrounds, and service centers
frequented by families will also be banned. Once enacted, food establishments
and manufactures that violate provisions of the ordinance will face fines, and in
severe cases, cancellation of applicable licenses.
Public interest law group ImagineLaw welcomed Valenzuela City’s initiative. “The
commitment to improve children’s health and well-being starts with a healthy
local food environment,’ said Atty. Sophia San Luis, executive director of
ImagineLaw. “We laud Valenzuela City’s political will in protecting children from
the harms of unhealthy food marketing,” she added.