Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. has written Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV requesting him to start public hearing on the Anti-Rice Wastage Bill.
Sen. Bongbong made the request as he saw the urgency to enact the bill into law because of the latest alarming report that 15 million Filipino children remain hungry and malnourished.
In a letter dated October 28, 2014, Sen. Bongbong requested Aquino, Chair of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, to schedule a public hearing on the “Anti-Rice Wastage Act of 2013.”
Sen. Bongbong is the author of the bill (SBN1863) entitled “An Act Penalizing the Practice of Restaurants, Hotels, Inns, Canteens, Steakhouses, Eateries, and the likes from Refusing to Serve Order of Rice from a Customer if it be less than One (1) Cup, and for Other Purposes.” The measure is pending in Sen. Aquino’s committee.
Sen. Bongbong said his bill is one of the measures that need to be implemented to fight the prevailing hunger in the country. “I believe that everyone should do his part in ensuring that every Filipino kid does not go hungry. The strategy against hunger should include ensuring that rice is not wasted and establishments in this kind of business should be aware of this,” he said.
Section 3 of the bill provides: “Any business establishment found violating this Act shall be meted a fine in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (Php20,000.00) for the first offense; Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php50,000.00) for the Second Offense; and One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php100,000.00) for the Third and so-forth Offense.”
Records from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that every Filipino wastes 3 teaspoons or 9 grams of rice daily, equivalent to 3.3 kilos every year.
According to the International Rice Research Institute, with 94 million Filipinos and 9 grams of wasted rice per day, the total wastage is 308,000 tons, which is 36 percent of 2011 rice imports.
“The rice wastage translates to at least US$535,000 (Php23 million) everyday or US$223 million a year, an amount sufficient to feed 4.3 million people,” Marcos said.
He said the measure aims to reduce rice wastage considerably by allowing customers to order just the amount of rice they can consume.
“Meaning, we can save one half cup of rice when a customer orders for only a half,’” he said.
Sen. Bongbong wrote Aquino in time for the “National Rice Awareness Month” which is being observed every November based on Proclamation No. 524, Series of 2004, issued by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in order to promote public awareness on responsible rice consumption vis-a-vis global food security.