Food and Nutrition Policy in the Philippines: Priorities, Challenges, and Opportunities

Seminar no. 1252
21 February 2024 Time 12.30 – 13.30 hrs.

Speaker: Assistant Prof Dr. Elaine Q. Borazon (National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan)

Analyzing the current food policy landscape and governance is important in identifying key challenges and opportunities to advance changes toward healthier food retail policies in the Philippines. Document review of relevant food retail policy documents (n = 27) from government websites, online news websites, and other publications and websites were retrieved from March to May 2023 to understand the drivers behind policy development and implementation processes. In-depth interviews (n = 26) with stakeholders from the government, academia, civil society, private sector, and international organizations supported the policy document analysis. Results show that there are limited food retail policies with specific nutrition and health objectives in the Philippines. Implementation of policies follows a top-down approach, where the initiatives and directives come from the national government agencies and are subject to implementation at the ground level by the local government units (LGUs). The main challenges in advancing these policies include a lack of government priority, the presence of silos, administrative roadblocks, corporate interference, and limited consumer education and awareness about healthy food consumption. Moreover, the implementation of these policies is currently inadequate, accompanied by insufficient monitoring, and challenges related to policy continuity. Immediate actions to support healthier food retail policies in the Philippines include strengthening the multisectoral government approach, amendment of existing policies to mainstream nutrition and health objectives, operationalizing the Philippine Nutrient Profile Model (PNPM) to serve as reference standards for classifying the healthiness of food, fostering government-industry collaborations, creating structures for enhanced monitoring and implementation of policies, and increasing food and nutrition literacy of consumers.

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