THE Cebu City Council approved a measure that would help solve the city’s problem on hunger through distribution of edible food surplus.
The Council approved the “Food Waste Reduction Ordinance of Cebu City” during its regular session on Dec. 2, 2020.
The ordinance, authored by Councilor Alvin Dizon, covers food establishments like restaurants and cafeterias; supermarkets and grocery stores with at least 500 square meters of selling space; culinary schools; school canteens; organized farmers and vendor groups; and food manufacturers.
Before distribution, the excess food from all the covered establishments must be segregated, the edible food surplus will be distributed to the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS)-accredited food banks or Cebu City Government-run food banks, while the inedible ones will be used for composting or gardening.
Personnel of the DSWS, the City Health Department (CHD), the barangay where the edible food surplus will be distributed and the food banks should coordinate to ensure the food surplus is still fit for human consumption.
The covered establishments must secure a food-related Business Waste Reduction Action Plan (BWRAP) and submit it annually to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) for the volume or quantity of edible and inedible food surplus donated or recycled.
The BWRAP is also one of the requirements in renewing the business permit.
Establishments that will be found compliant with the ordinance will be granted a garbage collection tax incentive.
Under Section 18 of the ordinance, it prohibits the selling of edible and inedible food surplus.
Anyone caught reselling donated food surplus will be fined P1,000 on first offense; P3,000 on second offense; and P5,000 on third offense or imprisonment not exceeding one month upon the discretion of the court.
A Food Bank Governing Board should also be created that will oversee the implementation of the ordinance.
The CHD, DSWS and Cenro are tasked to formulate the implementing rules and regulations for the ordinance, which will take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of local circulation.
The amount of food waste produced and the serious problem on hunger prompted Dizon to file such measure.
“The massive amount of food waste produced vis-à-vis our serious problem on hunger presents an opportunity for the government to take concrete actions to address hunger and adopt a policy and legal framework, especially on the local level to promote, facilitate and ensure the reduction of food waste through a mandatory system of redistribution of edible foods surplus to charities and recycling,” said Dizon. / JJL