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After QC, Manila OKs half-rice bill

MANILA, Philippines–Restaurants and other eateries in Manila will soon be required to offer a half-cup rice option to customers.

The Manila City Council recently enacted an ordinance ordering all food establishments to include half-cup rice servings in their menus. Violators face a P2,000 fine or three days in jail or both.

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The ordinance, authored by Councilor Marlon Lacson of the second district, is expected to be signed and approved by Mayor Joseph Estrada soon.

“All restaurants, eateries, hospital and school canteens and cafeterias, fastfood chains and all other similar business firms or institutions that serve meals prepared outside the home, including catering operations, shall hereby be required to serve half-cup rice servings in their menus,” said the ordinance which consisted of just three sections.

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“Any person found violating … this ordinance shall be punished by a fine of P2,000 or imprisonment of three days or both. Such fine and imprisonment shall be at the discretion of the court,” it added.

The ordinance’s enactment comes on the heels of the Quezon City government’s approval of a similar measure, which is specific in how much rice should be in a half-cup serving (about 80 grams, roughly half of the default 158-gram whole-cup serving), and how much establishments should charge for it (exactly half the cost of a whole cup).

Some Manila councilors noted that their version of the ordinance was written in general terms to give more leeway to owners of food establishments, allowing them to decide how big the half-cup serving should be as well as its cost.

In his explanatory note, Lacson said the ordinance was timely, considering that it was harder to produce rice today to satisfy the demands of the country’s burgeoning population with more farmlands being converted for use into other purposes and with typhoons regularly damaging rice plantations.

“On top of this, a study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute [found out] that every Filipino wastes about two tablespoons of cooked rice every meal. In 2010, our wasted rice was equivalent to 13 percent of the total rice imports of the same year amounting to P6.2 billion or the consumption of nearly 2.6 million Filipinos in a year,” he said.

Lacson added that the National Food Authority had sent letters to all cities in Metro Manila urging local government units to compel food establishments to offer half-cup rice servings in a bid to promote esponsible consumption of the staple.

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TAGS: city ordinance, half-rice option, Manila, Philippines - Metro, Quezon City, restaurants, rice, rice serving
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