Bring Back the Breastfeeding Messages

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Dear Secretary Duque,

Warm greetings!

The world will be celebrating Mothers’ Day next month and we hope you can give Filipino Mothers a gift to strengthen social support so they can reach their breastfeeding goals!

In 2005, World Health Organization Philippines estimated that annually, 16,000 Filipino children die because of inappropriate feeding practices. The number is similar to Araneta Coliseum's full seating capacity! 

We know that you are an ardent supporter of breastfeeding.  We know that you are aware that it ensures maternal and child health, it protects the economy and the ecology and it propels women empowerment and safeguards food security especially during disaster situations.

During your term as a Health Secretary in 2007, breastfeeding advocates and experts have put in place a strict Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the law that protect breastfeeding. 

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the IRR in a lawsuit that milk companies filed against the Department of Health.

Two of its effects are: 

1.  Require milk companies to put breastfeeding messages and warning labels (see below) on all artificial formula milk cans and advertisements marketed for children 0-3 years old.

2.  Regulate the marketing of the so-called milk supplements for 0-3 years old children that are promoted as partial or total replacement for breastmilk.

All milk advertisements carry these warnings as well. 

In 2010, under President Benigno Aquino III, a new Administrative Order (AO 2012-0027) was passed. Advocates noticed that the breastfeeding messages and warnings disappeared from the advertisements and the milk companies are now vigorously advertising milk supplements with an incomplete mandatory standard message from AO 2012-0027.

Back in early 2000, breastfeeding was nearly on the brink of extinction. With a massive national campaign, the rates went up considerably. We need to safeguard the gains of the breastfeeding movement. These breastfeeding messages and warnings will help educate new mothers and the general public on the benefits of breastfeeding as well as the hazards of giving non-human milk to children. 

We sent this petition to PNoy to bring back the breastfeeding messages but it fell on deaf ears. We requested for a dialogue with him to air our plea but he chose to meet with milk companies SEVERAL TIMES instead of talking to breastfeeding advocates:

Groundbreaking Ceremony of Nestle Philippines

September 23, 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwKJ-IWQ754

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjEP2kmRN5I

June 17, 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pAs90fywkw

Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel
6 June 2012

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slUyCafbECY

Under your term, we are confident that you will listen to us again and so we respectfully urge you to:

1.  Please bring back the following breastfeeding messages to ALL non-human milk advertisements (Please see below).

2.  Regulate the marketing of the so-called milk supplements for 0-3 years old children that are being promoted as partial or total replacement for breastmilk. 

ENGLISH:

Breastmilk is best for babies up to 2 years of age and beyond. 
Important Notice: There is no substitute for breastmilk.

FILIPINO: 
Ang gatas ng ina ang pinakamabuti para sa bata hanggang 2 taon at higit pa.
Mahalagang Paalala: Walang anumang gatas ang pwedeng ipalit sa gatas ng ina.

A WARNING ON THE POSSIBLE CONTAMINANTS IN NON-HUMAN MILK

There is likelihood that pathogenic microorganisms will be in this product when it is prepared and used inappropriately.

Ang produktong ito ay maaaring magkaroon ng mikrobyo na nagdudulot ng sakit kapag hindi tama ang paghahanda at paggamit.

“There is no reason to drink cow’s milk at anytime in your life. It is designed for calves, not humans and we should all stop drinking it today.”

- Frank Oski, MD, Former Director of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University

To learn more on the diseases that one can get in consuming dairy, please go to:
http://www.nanaynona.com/milk-and-diseases.html

To learn more about our efforts in resisting unethical marketing practices of milk companies, please read this: 

Breastfeeding Philippines - Nurturers of the Earth - Protecting Breastfeeding



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