By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As the new school year starts, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reminded schools to ensure that only healthy and nutritious food as well as beverages should be served by canteens in both public and private schools.
In a press briefing on school opening, Briones said that DepEd has called the attention of principals and school heads in both public and private elementary schools to adhere to the department’s policy and guidelines on healthy food and beverage choices in schools and offices.
In March, Briones issued DepEd Order No. 13 series of 2017 or the “Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and in DepEd Offices” for the “promotion and development of healthy-eating habits among the youth and DepEd employees by making available healthy, nutritious and affordable menu choices, and for setting food standards.”
“I know of private schools where sodas are not being sold to students and a school canteen that only serves meat once a week so I believe schools are following DepEd’s guidelines,” Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino.
With most Filipinos developing illnesses such as diabetes and cardiac problems, Briones said that DepEd is exerting efforts “to help young kids develop healthy eating habits.” She noted that schools, especially those with preschool and kindergarten students, must ensure food and beverages served in canteens are “highly regulated.”
“If there are any untoward practices, we need to call the attention of the schools,” Briones stressed.
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