Groups renew calls for law banning trans fat

Public interest law group ImagineLaw urged solons anew to pass the Trans Fat Free Philippines Bill into law, a measure that will ban the use of industrially-produced trans fatty acids or iTFAs in processed and pre-packaged food products manufactured and sold in the country.

The Nutrition Center of the Philippines, Nutrition Foundation of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Nutrition, and Philippine Society of Nutritionist-Dietitians also expressed support for the bill, regarded as a concrete move to curb cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) among Filipinos, during the Committee on Health deliberations on Wednesday, February 1, at the House of Representatives. The bill was unanimously approved by the committee, pending a substitute bill to consolidate all versions.

“In 2021 alone, there were 136,575 deaths due to CVDs,” said ImagineLaw, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority. “The measure will be a victory for heart health and a great gift for all Filipinos this Philippine Heart Month,” according to Atty. Sophia San Luis, the law group’s executive director.

House Bill No. 1485 or ‘An Act to Protect Filipinos from the Harmful Effects of Trans Fatty Acids’ was authored by Laguna Rep. Rene Ann. Matibag. Similar measures were also filed by Representatives Keith Micah Tan, Alfred delos Santos, and Ciriaco Gato, Jr., among others. Counterpart measures have been filed by Senators Nancy Binay, Risa Hontiveros, Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, Jr., and Joel Villanueva in the Senate.

“The coronavirus pandemic taught us that preventive healthcare is very important,” said San Luis. “Banning iTFA in the country’s food supply will help end the epidemic of heart disease,” she added.

ImagineLaw also urged the Senate to start deliberations on the measure.

“We urge our heart health champions in the Senate to set the hearing on their counterpart measures and contribute to the fulfillment of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 as envisioned by the President,” San Luis also said.