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Schools will go "Meatless Monday"

Written By Jane Miranda on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | Wednesday, July 11, 2012

meatless monday philippines
The Philippines has officially joined the international "Meatless Monday" movement.
In celebration of the Nutrition Month in the country this July, a lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to institutionalize Meatless Monday both in private and public schools in a bid to encourage consumption of vegetables, particularly indigenous varieties, attributed to healthy living among elementary and high school students.

Rep. Teddy Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna) filed House Bill 6311 which aims to aid the campaign to lessen greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change and environmental degradation as well as promote a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos.

Casiño said the Luntiang Lunes Motivational Campaign was developed as a nutrition and environmental drive to address high meat consumption world-wide in 2003. Those campaigning for “Luntiang Lunes” estimated that if in 2011, each of the 25.7 million students practiced Meatless Mondays in schools, in just one year this would have the same beneficial effect on CO2-emission as taking 94,392 cars off the road or having 12.35 million trees planted and grown for 10 years based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Luntiang Lunes launches on July 25th with the help of Dr. Custer Deocaris, a neuroscience and bio-gerontology expert with the Department of Science and Technology. Dr. Deocaris has long touted the benefits of a vegetable-rich diet and hopes that Meatless Monday will help steer citizens in the right direction. Dr. Deocaris also hopes that the campaign will encourage Filipinos to eat more indigenous produce.
Luntiang Lunes will highlight the health benefits of eating less meat by launching in the cafeteria of the Philippine Heart Center. Representatives from schools around the country will gather for the starting ceremonies, complete with free food and giveaways. Dr. Deocaris feels the campaign will be a winning way to talk about health, biodiversity and sustainability with the country’s 25.7 million students. “To increase vegetable consumption of Filipinos, we need to target children. Schools and family will need to seize the opportunity in educating them.”

"Filipinos have also grown to be the third 'fattest population' in Asia behind its opulent neighbors, Malaysia and Singapore," he also quoted.

Under the measure to be known as the “Luntiang Lunes Act of 2012,” the Department of Education (DepEd) is directed to order public and private elementary and high schools to only serve plant-based meals in their cafeterias every Monday while implementing and educational campaign on the beneficial role of such diet on health and the environment. However, no student shall be forced to buy food from the cafeteria and they have the right to bring packed lunch, regardless of whether it is plant or meat-based food.

In many schools, cafeterias and canteens are noticeably absent; where they do exist, the food items are prohibitively expensive considering what a student has to spend in the way of school requirements, fare, and so on.  And where they do exist there is no place to eat: those who bring baon eat their cold rice and cold food in their desks and armchairs, some go home, and a great many don’t even eat lunch. So it’s all a matter of making this green-leafy-vegetables on-Monday law happen when we get the execution of a State-subsidized school lunch right.

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