Passage of food donation bill sought

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SEN. Richard Gordon has sought the immediate passage of his food donation bill saying it will “complement” the Arroyo government’s hunger mitigation program.

He filed Senate Bill 150, known as the Food Donation Act, to breach hunger. But the senator clarified that it is not intended as a dole-out.

“The idea is to collect surplus or excess food, and not leftovers, from parties, buffets and from restaurants and fast food chains. Milk products could not be included since they have a short shelf life,” Gordon said. The bill already passed third reading last July 28.

He noted that President Macapagal-Arroyo has already issued Executive Order 825 creating the local Anti-Hunger Task Force that would facilitate the implementation of the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program.

“The food donation bill aims not only to address the problem of hunger but also to curtail food wastage. Side by side with the government’s hunger mitigation program, our proposal would help breach hunger which is widespread in the country,” he added.

The AHMP is the landmark program of the Arroyo government to address hunger both in the aspect of supply, or the unavailability or insufficiency of food to eat, and the aspect of demand, or the lack of money to buy food.

The AHMP includes programs such as the Food-for-School, which provides a daily ration of one kilo of rice to hungry families through children in Grade 1, pre-school and day care centers; the Gulayan ng Masa which promotes integrated backyard gardening in rural communities; and the Tindahan Natin which provides low-priced but good quality rice and instant noodles to low income families through accredited stores.

Gordon said his proposed legislation would complement the AHMP as it aims to provide food to those who do not earn enough to satisfy their basic food requirements.

“There is an industry where large amounts of untouched food that are still fit for human consumption are thrown every day. Instead of throwing away excess food, restaurant owners can donate them to those who are in need,” he said.

“Through this bill, we can teach the poor to create food opportunities for themselves. We are giving them a helping hand until they can regain their ability to feed themselves and therefore get back their dignity,” he added.