Monday, October 08, 2007

Philippines campaigner for infant health launches petition calling for US support

One of the organisers of simultaneous breastfeeding world record events has initiated a petition calling for support for infant health in the Philippines, directed to the people and leaders of the US. Last year the US Chamber of Commerce wrote to the President of the Philippines threatening investment in the country if regulations for the marketing of baby foods are allowed to stand. See our Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet and past blogs.

You can see the full petition and sign it yourself at:

Here is the opening text:

---extract begins
To: The People and Leaders of the United States of America

Help us save 16,000 Filipino children’s lives every year and 1.5 million babies dying every year throughout the world, because they were not breastfed.

To counter the mounting pressure that US officials and businessmen exert against breastfeeding advocates and Philippine health officials to prevent them from strictly implementing the laws that protect breastfeeding, the initiator of this petition-signing organized two simultaneous breastfeeding Guinness World Records in single and multiple sites in the Philippines, synchronized breastfeeding worldwide and initiated Senate and Congress hearings in her country. The battle has reached the Supreme Court and the case is still being adjudicated. The case constitutes a precedent that may affect the Breastfeeding Movement in the entire world, especially in developing countries where the financial muscle of multinational corporations and official American pressure are influencing national policies.

We humbly submit for your consideration this petition to the people and leaders of the United States from the mothers and breastfeeding advocates of the world, in consideration of the coming US presidential election, and the opportunity it provides us who are gathered here from all over the world, to acquaint them of our concerns, especially those of the poor countries, that they may better exercise their role as the leader and role model of the world.

This petition was circulated during the 50th Anniversary International Conference of the La Leche League International in Chicago, USA last July 20-23, 2007.

Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, MD, FPDS, RPh, IBCLC
Director and Co-Founder
Children for Breastfeeding, Inc., Philippines
TESDA Women’s Center, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
---extract ends

Baby Milk Action has collected signatures to a petition of solidarity with the Philippines and presented this to the Philippines Embassy in London last year and sent the completed petition to the Secretary of State for Health, our IBFAN partners in the Philippines (Arugaan) and others, prior to the closing presentation in the Supreme Court case. This is hearing the baby food industry's challenge to regulations introduced by the Department of Health.

See the blog entries tagged 'Philippines' for further details.

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