Bam wants businesses to give spare food to poor

A senator wants food-related businesses to donate their spare food to food-distribution charities or “food banks” to provide food security to our poorest Filipino families while also addressing food waste.

 “Sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin at presyo ng pagkain ngayon, hindi makatarungan na maraming nasasayang na pagkain,” said Sen. Bam Aquino as he filed Senate Bill No. 357 or the Zero Food Waste Act.

 In his measure, Sen. Bam wants to “ultimately end the cycle of having food end up in the trash instead of stomachs”.

 Sen. Bam submitted the measure days after the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released its 2016 first-quarter report, indicating that the number of families that experienced involuntary hunger rose to 3.1 million from 2.6 million in the last quarter of 2015.

 According to SWS, the total hunger rate accelerated to 13.7 percent during 2016’s first quarter from 2015’s fourth quarter of 11.7 percent.

 The measure seeks to create a National Anti-Food Waste Scheme, with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as coordinating agency between food businesses, such as food manufacturers, supermarkets, restaurants, cafeterias, and hotels, and food banks.

 The scheme will set guidelines and standards for the collection, storage, and distribution of edible food donated to food banks. It will also promote linkages between food banks and LGUs to create a community-based food distribution system for the food insecure.

 It will 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.

 Food-related businesses will shoulder the costs of transporting edible food waste from business location to the food bank’s warehouse or distribution center and ensure its good condition upon arrival.

 If enacted into law, the penalty of prision correccional will be imposed on any individual, private or public, who deliberately makes food waste unfit for consumption.

 Sen. Bam said the same penalty is applicable to private or public actors who prevent the redirection of edible food waste to food banks or inedible food waste to waste management and recycling enterprises.

 In addition, Sen. Bam said the measure will push private individuals and their local governments to participate in a segregation campaign to have food waste readily available for recycling into fertilizer or compost.

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