Saturday, June 18, 2022

Law Group Warns Food Companies: Eliminate Trans Fat Before FDA Deadline

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“One year left. The food industry must ensure that the food they produce and offer for sale to the public is safe and trans fat-free.”

This is the statement of the law group ImagineLaw today, a year before the deadline for the food industry to remove their processed food products with trans fatty acids (TFA) from the market, as set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through Circular No. 2021-028 which mandates food manufacturers, producers, and distributors to reformulate their products and shift towards a TFA-free food production by June 18, 2023.

TFA is a toxic food additive that increases the risks of heart disease and other non-communicable diseases (NCD). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), trans fat is unnecessary and causes only health harms. To address the prevalence of NCDs, the WHO urged countries to remove trans fat from the global food supply by 2023.

“Industry compliance is crucial in achieving our goal of a trans fat-free Philippines by 2023. With a year before the deadline, we urge the food industry to act now and remove TFA from their food production,” said Atty. Mary Grace Anne Rosales - Sto. Domingo, ImagineLaw’s project manager.

Beginning June 19, 2023, pre-packed and processed food items with TFA or partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) should not be offered for sale in groceries, convenience stores, and the like. Food producers, distributors, and sellers are mandated to exhaust their existing product stocks with high TFA content and PHO before the said deadline.

They are also required to reformulate and apply for a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR), an accreditation for evaluated products that are proven safe and healthy.

After the transitory period, violation of the Circular’s provisions can result in the disapproval of the establishment’s application, and CPR suspension or cancellation.

The FDA regulations implement the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order No. 2021-0039 regulating TFA in processed and pre-packaged food items. The national policy was issued as part of the government’s effort to curb NCDs in the country and join the global effort to eliminate trans fat.

“The government and civil society advocated for measures against the harmful TFA. It is now in the hands of the food industry to join the collective health effort by complying with the FDA regulations on time,” Sto. Domingo emphasized.

CICC opens cybercrime laboratory

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The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) unveils the latest and state-of-the-art Digital Forensics Platform and Laboratory (DFPAL). DFPAL will be an important tool of the government’s fight against the rising cybercrimes, especially, Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC). This cybercrime laboratory is located at CICC’s headquarters in Quezon City.

“The opening of DFPAL will allow the CICC to monitor and coordinate with other law enforcement agencies in conducting thorough digital and forensic investigations and assist them in prosecuting cybercriminals nationwide,” says CICC Executive Director Cezar O. Mancao II.

One of the goals of the CICC is to address the problem of OSAEC. “The CICC’s DFPAL was established and operationalized to conduct relentless, coordinated efforts to prevent, disrupt, and possibly stop if not mitigate the issues of OSAEC through the collaborative partnership of local and international stakeholders towards providing a cybersafe environment for children,” says Mancao. “We have acquired a powerful state-of-the-art technology, which will improve the success rates of investigators and policing operations in the ongoing pursuit to identify, apprehend, and convict individuals and networks associated with online child sexual exploitation,” he adds. The DFPAL will be manned by trained and certified professionals from various fields such as information and communications technology, psychology, digital forensics, data analytics, research, and communications that would provide vital support to the operations of the CICC.

The CICC was created by virtue of Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, for policy coordination among concerned agencies. It is one of the attached agencies of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) tasked to lead the government’s efforts in the fight against cybercrimes, especially those victimizing the most vulnerable segment in society, our children.

The CICC has undertaken several programs, such as Child Online Safeguarding Policy (COSP), Cyber Patrol Program, Batang Barangay Capability Program, and the Cyber Conflict Program, among others. We are also part of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) and the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT).

“OSAEC is a tragic and growing problem in the Philippines, but it does not need to be a permanent one. We will do everything that we can to protect Filipino children. We have to act now and fight against these monster predators. We need to help each other to protect our netizens, says Mancao.”

Vulnerabilities of children

The COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the problem of online child exploitation involving child pornography and other forms of child online sexual abuse, specifically with children from low-income families. This has strengthened the resolve of the CICC for safer cyberspace. Mancao says, “To support this advocacy, we have child online protection programs and initiatives in partnership with various civil society organizations and many stakeholders.”

He explains that these crimes are borderless. The unprecedented access to the internet through computers and mobile phones has made children the most vulnerable segment to cybercrime. “These technologies are now embedded in their lives, our lives. With the DFPAL, the CICC will be better equipped to fight OSAEC,” adds Mancao.

DFPAL will serve as proof of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s commitment to fighting the threat of OSAEC. “This will serve as the President’s legacy in gathering all the resources of the government to address this threat affecting thousands of families,” adds Mancao. “The opening of this new facility will provide law enforcement agencies with updated data and intelligence that can lead to the arrest and prosecution of these predators.”

To report a cybercrime against children, you can call our helplines, 09666524885, 09206260217, or via email at You may also reach out to our institutional partners, the NBI-Cybercrime Division ( or at (877) 624-7707), PNP – Anti-Cybercrime Group ( or at 0998 598 8116), and DOJ – Office of Cybercrime ((+632) 523 8482).

Friday, June 17, 2022

Collaboration: A key in creating sustainable agri-enterprises

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Limited market information and market access are two major obstacles to increased smallholder farmers’ income. According to studies, farmers in grassroot communities often lack access to profitable, value-added markets. In the absence of critical supporting functions, such as infrastructure and service provision – farmers struggle to transform their traditional subsistence farms into a feasible commercially oriented production. Buyers, on the other hand, such as wholesalers, find it difficult to get the quantity and quality of produce that they need for processing on a timely basis.

Because of this challenge, SM Foundation collaborated with various government agencies, and engaged various SM business units such as the SM Development Corp. (SMDC), SM Supermalls and SM Markets to ensure that local farmers under the Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan (KSK) program have venues where they can sell their produce amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

From training KSK participants in practicing sustainable farming technologies via technology transfer and product development, SMFI, together with various SM business units used the power of collaboration to create farm-market linkage - which intends to create a powerful driver of rural poverty reduction.

Team social good

The Good Guys Market is a weekend market set up in SMDC properties to connect small-scale farmers directly with consumers—condo residents. This initiative links around 26,000 small-scale farmers directly with consumers.

Together with SM Supermalls, SMFI launched the Green Lane initiative. Led by the wives of the KSK farmers, the social enterprise offers a wide variety of quality yet affordable indoor and landscape plants which cater to every enthusiast’s preference. In addition, the team also launched the KSK Farmers’ Market Day to provide farmers with market exposure in select SM Malls nationwide.

Meanwhile, SMFI also partnered with SM Markets in creating market for onion farmers. Through the partnership, SMFI was able to establish specialized onion pop-up booths creating a stable market for small scale onion farmers.

Millions of smallholder farmers are seeking ways to improve the productivity of their farms and to improve their market performance. Modern farming technologies, paired with market linkage, such as the SM KSK, plays a vital role in improving the livelihood of small-scale farmers and their families.

SM Foundation’s Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan (KSK) is SMFI’s Social Good program on sustainable agriculture that intends to uplift the lives of Filipinos in grassroot communities through sustainable agriculture via technology transfer, product development and farm-market linkage. To date, the program has trained more than 28,500 farmers from more than 900 cities/municipalities nationwide.
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