As the recess bells rang, the pupils rushed to their school canteens. Einah directly went to the chichiria section and picked her favorites and the cashier gladly accepted her payment. As her eyes roam around, she found out that most of her fellows also preferred junk foods rather than their home made snacks prepared by their parents.
School canteens are the one of the favorite hangouts of students during breaks therefore, it needs proper supervision. In La Trinidad, the Municipal Council aims to ensure the safety of foods served by the school canteens especially in the primary and secondary level.
To safeguard the health of the students, the La Trinidad School Canteen Regulation Ordinance will be imposed in support with the Dep-Ed’s Oder No. 8, series of 2007 which are the Guidelines on the Operation and Management of School Canteens in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.
The proposed ordinance reads that it is observable that lots of school canteens sell carbonated drinks and junk foods such as salty snacks, candies, and ice cream as reflected in their inventory. So there is a need to regulate the operations of the school canteens.
Nutritious foods such as root crops, rice and corn products in native preparation, fruits and vegetables, and beverages like milk, shakes, fresh fruit juices shall be sold in school canteens.
Therefore, selling of carbonated drinks, artificially flavored juices, and junk foods inside the school canteen is prohibited unless the product passed Bureau of Foods and Drugs’ (BFAD) approval and bears the Sangkap Pinoy seal, a seal put on a processed food that passed the requirement of Department of Health (DOH).
The survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2008 revealed that soft drinks are the third top beverage choice of children aged six to 12 years old while junk foods rank the 12th choice of kids.
Aside from the various diseases acquired in eating unhealthy foods, the survey also found out that consumption of junk foods and soft drinks are the causes of obesity.
“Our major concern is the health of the consumers. So canteen staff must not only think of their profits,” stressed La Trinidad Councilor Estrella B. Adeban, one of the authors of the ordinance.
Moreover, the ordinance will not only focus on the foods inside the canteen but it includes the place’s sanitation, proper handling of food, attire of staff, and requires the staff to wear their IDs.
“I am grateful because such ordinance was proposed and I hope it will soon be granted. As observed, children nowadays are fond of eating chichiria and drinking soft drinks not minding the snacks and lunch prepared by their parents. There are also times that kids eats lots of junk foods without drinking water afterwards,” stressed Fely Mateo, a resident of Km. 5.
In the ordinance, it was also stated that outside vendors and school personnel are not allowed to sell foods within the school’s vicinity unless it is authorized and agreed by the school head.
On the other hand, Aling Gergia (not her real name), a canteen staff said that they are willing to comply with the ordinance and assured that they will look for some nutritious foods as replacements to junk foods.
Violations of the ordinance will be fined for Php 1,000, Php 2,000, and Php 3, 000 respectively for the first, second, and third offense in addition to DepEd’s sanctions.
To strictly implement the ordinance, the Municipal Health Office (MHO) and the Sanitary Inspectors will regularly monitor the school canteens through a direct coordination with the DepEd Division Monitoring and Enforcement Team for pre-school, elementary and secondary levels. Moreover focal persons from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) are assigned as resource speakers for Technical and Tertiary levels.
The proposed ordinance was authored by Vice Mayor Romeo K. Salda, Councilors Roderick Awingan, Francis Lee, Henry .Kipas, and Estrella Adeban. Further, the ordinance is now on its second reading wherein verification will be clarified and corrections will be input.//Margaret Anne B. Litilit