Convenience stores serving food should also give free potable water to customers under bill
MANILA, Philippines — Convenience stores that serve cooked food or even snacks should also be covered under a proposed bill requiring all public and private establishments to provide free clean drinking water for its consumers, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Tuesday.
Senate Bill No. 196, filed by Senator Manny Pacquiao, seeks to penalize food establishments with a fine of P50,000 should they refuse to provide their customers free drinking water.
During a Senate hearing on the said measure, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) chairman Paul Santos asked if the bill would cover establishments not primarily focused on food service but “may serve food or prepare beverages as an incidental part of their business.”
Cited as example are convenience stores or grocery stores whose primary business is the sale of goods and other merchandise but also offer cooked and prepared meals on the side.
In answer, Pimentel, who headed the hearing, said that as long as the establishment serves food and also provide space for their customers for the consumption of food, they should give free water.
“You buy food and consume it there? May tables ito (There are tables there), so yes, you serve water. Upon demand of the consumer, you serve water, you serve food eh,” Pimentel said.
“Kasama dapat yan. Basta ganito na lang rule ko, basta may pambara, may panulak (That should be included in the bill. This is my rule: if there is food, there should be free water),” he added.
He also clarified that establishments that only provide ready-to-eat snacks could also be covered under the bill as long as there are space in their premises for the consumption of food.
“Did the establishment provide for space for consumers to eat inside the premises? If the answer is yes, I will say you serve water,” the senator said. /muf
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