We, the undersigned, oppose plans in the Philippines, promoted by a baby food industry lobby, for new legislation amending the Executive Order 51 (1986) - known as the 'milk code' - and its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (2007).
The industry wants to be allowed to advertise baby milks, to contact mothers for so-called educational purposes and to sponsor and train health workers. This is unacceptable and violates internationally agreed marketing standards.
The industry should be restricted to selling its products with appropriate labels and leave it to independent health workers to advise parents and carers. It should provide health workers with scientific and factual information about its products and nothing more.
According to the World Health Organisation 16,000 babies die every year in the Philippines due to inappropriate feeding. Companies make untrue claims implying that formula protects babies and boosts intelligence, while failing to provide adequate information on the risks to babies fed on formula or how to reduce the risks to babies who have to be fed on formula.
We call for the rights of mothers, babies and their families in the Philippines to be protected by strengthening the regulations, not weakening them. We call for legislators to fully implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly.
The proposed legislation passing through the legislature is being backed by IPNAP, the Infant and Pediatric Nutrition Association of the Philippines, consisting of Nestlé, Mead Johnson, Abbott and Fonterra.
We send a message of solidarity to the mothers, civil society organisations, health worker bodies and international agencies in the Philippines that are opposing the proposed industry legislation.
A film clip explaining more can be viewed at: http://info.babymilkaction.org/philippines2012