Health authorities are roaming around evacuation camps to monitor any prohibited milk donation.
This after some donors from Davao City reportedly sent milk to Makilala, North Cotabato.
The National Nutrition Council XI (NNC), the Department of Health and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are coordinating with the camp managers and other emergency clusters to monitor milk donations.
“If we ever see milk in the donations, we automatically halt the distribution,” said Dr. Maria Ungson, the NNC XI regional coordinator.
Any confiscated milk will, however, be will given to the kitchen camps.
“Maybe they can use them to cook champorado,” Ungson said.
She said donating milk to quake-hit evacuees is a crime.
“Whoever donates milk violates Executive Order No. 51,” Ungson said.
Signed by then President Corazon Aquino in 1986, the Milk Code, Executive Order No. 51 series of 1986, imposes a penalty of imprisonment ranging from two months to one year and/or fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 to anyone who donates milk in times of calamity.
Ungson said any milk donation – infant formula, powdered, condensed and evaporated – is dangerous as it may cause diarrhea especially to children in the evacuation areas.
She strongly urges mothers to breastfeed instead to ensure the safety of infants and children.
“The best way to do during emergency situations is to breastfeed,” Ungson said. “Give breastmilk to avoid possible risks.”
She said infant formula, powdered milk or even condensed and evaporated milk have to be put in with water.
“We all know that water in those (quake-affected) areas are unsafe. We already have cases of diarrhea, and what we want is to give the best milk to our babies, which is breast milk,” Ungson said.
The NNC, an agency under the DOH, emphasizes that no breast milk substitute should be distributed to any evacuation camps.
“They can access to other food, but the milk is really covered by the law,” she added.
Breastfeeding corners in the evacuation camps for mothers will also be established.
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