Members and Guests of the Sectoral Committee on Social Development/Social Protection (SCSD/SP) during its Third Quarter Meeting on August 10, 2021.

The CALABARZON Sectoral Committee on Social Development/Social Protection (SCSD/SP) endorsed the creation of a regional task force on the implementation of the Executive Order (EO) No. 51, formally known as the Philippine Milk Code of 1986, during its meeting on August 10, 2021 via videoconference. The creation of the task force on EO 51 is in response to the challenge of low breastfeeding rates in the Region and the reported violations related to Taal Volcano eruption in 2020 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Zarah Clarice T. Megino of National Nutrition Council (NNC) Region IV-A reported that in 2015, CALABARZON ranked the second lowest among regions in terms of prevalence of exclusively breastfed children (aged 0-5 months), and number of children (aged 0-23 months) initiated to breastfeeding within one hour after delivery. Relatedly, reported violations on the Milk Code include donation of milk formula, breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and other products.

The Regional Task Force on EO 51 will be chaired by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development Region IV-A and co-chaired by the Food and Drug Administration South Luzon Cluster, with the NNC Region IV-A as the Secretariat. Functions of the task force include monitoring of compliance to the Milk Code, verification of violation reports, monitoring of labels of products covered by the Code, provision of technical assistance to LGUs, government and private hospitals, and companies, and strengthening of advocacy on EO 51, among others. The taskforce will also regulate breastmilk substitute donations during disasters.

The creation of task force is in conjunction with the celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month every August of the year pursuant to Republic Act 10028, “Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.”

Gied B. Evangelista, NEDA Region IV-A | August 11, 2021