• Protect students from toxic school supplies, govt asked

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    Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on the government to diligently protect the welfare of consumers after an influx of school supplies with high lead content were recorded in Manila’s Divisoria area.

    Garganta said the government must be the “first line of defense” to protect the consumers against businessmen taking advantage of the high demand.

    “This way, the public interest is upheld and not taken advantage of by others and not compromised,” he told reporters on Monday.

    A few weeks before the formal opening of classes, it was reported that most of the school supplies being sold in Divisoria have a high lead content.

    Lead is an element that is harmful to health when ingested or inhaled particularly by children under six years old.

    “Social justice demands that [public servants]care for and protect people from all forms of threat, so they must [perform]their roles diligently,” the priest said.

    Garganta wished that the responsible agencies would swiftly act on the issues raised by the people to ease the burden on parents.

    “They work hard to be able to buy school supplies. Should they still monitor the safety of these products as well?” he said.

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