Fetalvero: Food for thought: What to do with leftovers?

HOW we treat our fellow citizens reflects how we value them. Senate Bill 357 (Zero Food Waste Act), sponsored by Sen. Bam Aquino, aims to redirect surplus food to feed millions of Filipinos who do not know where to get their next meal.

Proponents of the bill intend to involve food manufacturers, buffet restaurants and other food outlets willing to donate surplus food to ease the hunger situation in our country. But how is this different from “pagpag”? What is our guarantee that the donated food comes from the pot and not from the customer’s plate?

Provisions to the proposed bill include establishing what they call a food bank where all donated food will be delivered. To facilitate the distribution, the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be involved and tasked to coordinate with the LGUs. Perishable food is difficult to manage. Who will manage the food banks? Who are the target recipients of this program as this could be abused?

I see a glitch with the proposed measure since there exists a “spoilage ethic” adapted by restaurants that compel owners of eateries to trash unsold food. We are aware that not all eateries observe this ethical standard. It’s the practice of some establishments to reheat or recycle unsold food. Should the government be serious about this bill, they should involve the Department of Health (DOH) in the discussion and in the implementation so as to avoid health issues or being sued later.

Why not widen the scope of our “Feed the Hungry” program that has been widely accepted by our hungry fellow citizens? In this setting, we all know that they are served freshly cooked food and not leftovers. What percentage of the P3.7 trillion 2019 budget goes to social services? We must not forget, nation building encompasses the overall development of citizens of this country.

The DOH and the World Health Organization have statistics to back up claims of malnutrition in our country but little is done to address the problem.

“Ningas-kugon” is also a problem to contend with. We are attentive as we jump start a program but we do not sustain and maintain it.


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