By Ben Rosario
The legislative proposal requiring all restaurants and other food establishments to include half cup of cooked rice as a menu option has been revived in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Joel Mayo Almario (PDP-Laban, Davao Oriental) filed House Bill 2513 or the Half Cup Rice Act of 2019 as he aired the optimism that the measure will help government achieve the “four-fold goal of reducing food wastage, establishing rice production self-sufficiency, lessening consumer expenses and promoting health and balanced eating.”
The bill proposes that all commercial establishments serving food to the public should include an option to order a half cup, or one hundred grams, of cooked rice to their customers.
Violators shall face a P5,000 fine for the first offense, then P10,000 and P15,000 in the second and third offense.
Establishments found to have committed the offense thrice will be closed by the government for a period of 30 days with its license to operate suspended during the period.
“Primary in the list of goals is preventing wastage in rice consumption in order to realize rice production autonomy by our local farmers,” said Almario.
He noted that the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has revealed that each Filipino wastes an average of two tablespoons of cooked rice daily.
“This is the equivalent to 13 percent of the country’s annual rice imports, costing the country roughly P7.2 billion annually – an amount that can feed 2.5 million Filipinos for an entire year,” said Almario.
Almario said the bill will allow consumers to reduce expenses when eating in food establishments because they will now have an option to order half a cup instead of the usual additional whole cup.
The senior administration lawmaker filed a similar bill during the 17th Congress when rice shortage gripped the country.
He urged colleagues in the House to support the measure as he pointed out that the bill will promote health awareness.
“It provides customers who are trying to limit their rice consumption the choice to order only the amount of rice they can actually consume, effectively discouraging over-eating,” Almario pointed out.