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11, 2012

NR # 2828

House okays bill regulating bottled water
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 6388 regulating the sale of bottled water to protect the consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products. The “Safe Bottled Water Act of 2012”, principally authored by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2 nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao) and coauthored by 44 lawmakers, mandates the Department of Health (DOH) to establish and enforce clear, concise, and un-coded uniform source labeling requirements for all bottled water products, including the original source of the water, type of water, type of treatment, the date of bottling, the address of the bottler, and provide numerical specification of sodium content. According to Rodriguez, the consumption of bottled water has increased markedly in recent years, with thousands of households currently consuming bottled drinking water as the source of drinking water. Rodriguez said the consumers are paying premium prices for bottled water based on the assumption that it is of superior quality to their tap water. “Unfortunately, bottled water sold in the country is left unregulated, as there exists a possibility that the bottled water sold in the market is not of superior quality as claimed,” Rodriguez said. Under the bill, the DOH shall define mineral water, spring water, naturally carbonated, naturally sparkling, well water, natural well water, artesian water, natural artesian water, purified water, distilled water, drinking water and all other variants of bottled water existing in the market, and require that the definition for the appropriate product be placed on the bottle. The DOH shall also formulate the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations concerning source protection, monitoring, reporting and inspection, recall regulations, prohibition of dual use of bottled water equipment and for its bottling, packaging and storage study. Under the measure, the Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) with the assistance of the Director of the Food and Drugs Administration is empowered to establish quality standards and definitions for mineral water and carbonated water, among others. Citing the constitution, Rodriguez said the State shall protect and promote the health of the people and ensure that potable, safe and affordable drinking water is available to all the people by adopting a comprehensive policy framework to regulate the activities of the mineral, carbonated and other bottled water businesses including suppliers, distributors and sellers. (30) jsc