Press Release
October 2, 2008

Jinggoy seeks alternative supply of milk

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada pushed for the passage of his bill to promote goat and sheep raising nationwide and minimize the country's dependence on imported milk following the recall of dairy products that contain contaminated Chinese milk.

Estrada said he had filed Senate Bill No. 153 or "An Act Establishing the Philippine Goat and Sheep Center" to breed goats and sheep that can be distributed to farmers and develop alternative sources of milk for local consumers.

"By encouraging backyard goat and sheep development in the rural areas, we can drastically reduce the importation of milk and milk products while ensuring a steady source of food and additional income for our farmers," he added.

He asserted that the development of the local milk industry would liberate the Filipinos from the monopoly of the distributors of imported milk and allow the government to regulate the contents of the local milk supply.

Estrada said the recent recall of imported dairy products, including chocolates that contain Chinese milk tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical used in plastic making, should compel Congress to pass laws that will develop the local milk industry.

He said it is now time to pass his bill to establish the Philippine Goat and Sheep Center at the Central Luzon State University in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija and possibly in other strategic areas of the country.

The goat and sheep center will complement the Philippine Carabao Center, which is also based in the Central Luzon State University after then Senator Joseph Estrada introduced the legislation to develop carabao breeding in the country.

"There is a need for government initiative to conserve, improve and develop the Philippine goat and sheep to enable the farmers, especially the smallholder farmers, to avail themselves of good quality goats and sheep stock at all times and at reasonable prices through an organized program of breeding and development," the younger Estrada said.

The senator also called on other lawmakers to pass another bill that he filed, Senate Bill No. 409 or "An Act Establishing Standards for the Labeling of Milk."

He said the measure would help milk consumers to find out what are the contents of the milk they buy through the implementation of uniform standards regarding the contents of skim milk, low fat milk and milk as beverage in final package.

The Constitution, Article II, Section 15 provides that "The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them."

Estrada said his bill provides for the proper labeling of milk products indicating distinctly in its package the non-fat and protein contents of milk solids that are non-fat in the classification of skim milk, low fat and milk beverage.

"With this innovation it is expected that the consuming public will be properly informed about the nutritional contents and value of the milk they consume. The quality of milk will likewise be upgraded in order to conform to proper nutritional standards." Estrada added.

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