Philippines institutes its “First 1,000 Days” law

The Philippines Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III addresses government colleagues, development partners, and civil society representatives in the ceremonial launch of the “First 1,000 Days” law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations on 2 May 2019. Photo credit: Paul Zambrano/Alive & Thrive

The Philippines promulgated Republic Act 11148 – the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act” – better known as the “First 1,000 Days” law. The law seeks to institutionalize the convergence and scale-up of programs from different sectors around the critical first 1,000 days of life, spanning from conception to the first two years. The law also focuses on strengthening the implementation and enforcement of the existing nutrition-related laws and policies, such as the Philippines Milk Code regulating the marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS).

One salient feature of the “First 1,000 Days” law is that it updates the current definition of BMS to include follow-on formula and growing-up milks, aligning the law with the latest WHO global recommendations and further strengthening what is already one of the strongest legal measures against BMS marketing in the ASEAN region. A&T was part of the technical working group that developed the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations.