Food banks in Cebu City soon
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City will soon have its own food banks after the city council passed the ordinance establishing a food bank in times of public emergencies such as the pandemic.
Councilor Alvin Dizon, the proponent of the ordinance, said the pandemic has laid bare the most essential needs of the people which are food, water, and medicine.
There is a necessity to prepare for these kinds of disasters especially under a public health emergency when it has been proven that food is needed to sustain locked down areas.
“No one should go hungry during a disaster and public health emergency, and the local government has to scale up its interventions to mobilize help from the private sector. The food bank model is one strategy that could help effectively respond to the coronavirus outbreak in the local communities,” said Dizon.
Under the passed ordinance, the city will establish a food bank to be managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS), which will also be tasked to develop food distribution plans for potential scenarios in a public health emergency and disaster.
The food bank shall adopt both the “front line” model which is giving out food directly to the poor and hungry and the “warehouse” model which is supplying food to intermediaries like community kitchens and other frontline organizations that are doing hunger-relief assistance in times of public health emergencies and disasters.
The private sector will be the city’s partners in supplying the food bank through donations and donors may be granted tax incentives in accordance with the law.
To ensure that donated food items are safe for human consumption, the DSWS in coordination with the Cebu City Health office shall conduct a thorough evaluation of food items gathered from donors and partners before stocking and distribution to the beneficiaries.
The food bank will also be guided by the Food Bank Governing board, which will be comprised of the mayor as its chairperson; the heads of the DSWS, City Health, and General Services; two members from the Sangguniang Panglungsod; and two representatives of the private sector.
The passed ordinance would also penalize individuals or groups that would sell the donated goods for profit. First-time offenders would pay a fine of P1,000, second-time offenders would pay the fine of P3,000, and third or multiple time offenders would pay P5,000 and may face a month of jail time.
The Food Bank will be allocated funds yearly from the annual budget up to P3 million for its maintenance and management.
The ordinance is now awaiting the signature of Mayor Edgardo Labella before it can be implemented. /dbs
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