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PIA Press Release

Best food for babies is breast milk, says Davao dad

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (13 December) -- Davao City Councilor Pilar Braga said scientific studies have shown that the best food for babies is breast milk. Human milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, immunoglubins and compounds with unique structures that cannot be replicated in infant formula.

While the government promotes breastfeeding, the Milk Code of the Philippines and its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations has met a lot of opposition from the Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines composed of medicine, medical and other laboratory equipment providers.

They have petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a TRO believing that the RIRR went beyond the provisions of the Milk Code, which in effect, amended the Executive Order 51, that came into force July 7 and the amendments, they said, are unconstitutional.

They further believe that the enforcement of the RIRR will affect the investment and expansion plans of key milk manufacturers in the country as they may opt to cut down productions, put on hold expansion plans and lay off employees in the process due to the new restrictions.

Likewise, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States also sent a letter of protest to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Councilor Braga, in her privilege speech during a regular council session said the government simply would like to promote breastfeeding, which would address malnutrition and literacy problem, birth spacing and economics.

According to the DOH, the rich who have the means to purchase the expensive infant formula are the ones breastfeeding. The lower and the middle class are the ones buying the expensive milk. Through the RIIR, people will have access to right information.

Human milk is made for human infants and meets all specific nutrient needs. Breastfeeding would save consumers money spent both in infant formula and on health care, and could save lives as well.

Because infant milk formulas are big money, according to Dr. Jean Marc Olive', WHO country representative, Filipinos spent about P21.5-billion to buy infant formula products. If that expense be cut in half, that would mean a savings of about P10.75-billion or about $200-million in foreign exchange of the Philippines. (PIA-XI) [top]

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