Sen. Bam Aquino is hoping that private enterprises, particularly those in food-related businesses, would share the load in the government’s anti-poor programs by donating their spare food to food distribution charities or food banks for the benefit of the country’s poorest Filipino families.
Aquino has filed Senate Bill No. 357 or the Zero Food Waste Act to address food wastage which seems to be prevalent in cities and major communities.
The senator said the measure is aimed at eliciting cooperation among restaurants and food companies to “ultimately end the cycle of having food end up in the trash instead of stomachs.”
“With high prices of basic necessities and food these days, wasting food is unjustifiable,” Aquino said.
Citing a Social Weather Station 2016 first quarter report, Aquino said the number of families that experienced involuntary hunger rose to 3.1 million from 2.6 million in the last quarter of 2015. SWS also said the total hunger rate accelerated to 13.7 percent during 2016’s first quarter from 2015’s fourth quarter with 11.7 percent.
The bill seeks to create a National Anti-Food Waste Scheme with the Department of Social Welfare and Development as coordinating agency between food businesses such as food manufacturers, supermarkets, restaurants, cafeterias and hotels, and food banks.
NAFWS would be responsible in setting up guidelines and standards for the collection, storage, and distribution of edible food donated to food banks and promoting linkages between food banks and local government units to create a community-based food distribution system for the beneficiaries.
It would also establish a Self-Sufficiency Program that provides the food insecure with skills training on managing food banks and livelihood programs to avoid dependence on donations.
Under the bill, food-related businesses would shoulder the costs of transporting edible left over food from business location to the food bank’s warehouse or distribution center and ensure its good condition upon arrival.
(Hannah L. Torregoza)