The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance mandating all restaurants and other similar establishments offering their services to the public in the city to provide free access to potable water to its customers.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Fred Bagbagen stated that it shall be the policy of the local government to uphold and promote the general welfare and ensure the delivery of basic services and to maximize the exercise of the proprietary functions of the general welfare.
Under the proposed measure, all restaurants and other similar establishments operating businesses within the city are mandated to provide free access to potable water to its customers and not only when the customers ask for it.
Further, the aforesaid establishments must regularly maintain and clean their water dispensers, water vending machines and water storage containers.
The ordinance also requires similar establishments to post a signage of ‘Free Service Water’ inside the premises of their establishments.
The City Health Services Office (CHSO) will be tasked to conduct inspection of all restaurants and other similar establishments to ensure their compliance aside from the conduct of monthly water sampling and bacteriology tests on the service water being provided by the food outlets.
The ordinance stipulated that restaurants and other similar establishments that will be found violating the pertinent provisions of the measure shall be initially called upon based on the written or verbal complaints of customers.
Any restaurant and other similar establishment that does not comply with the pertinent provisions of the proposed ordinance shall be meted a fine of P3,000, reprimand and shall be given the first notice of violation for the first offense; a fine of P4,000 and shall be given final notice of violation for the second offense and a fine of P5,000, suspension of business permit and closure of the establishment until such time that the establishment complies with the measure for the third offense.
The proponent raised the fact that most restaurants and other similar establishments were observed not giving free water to customers prompting them to buy bottled water instead, thus, the need to further strengthen existing measures and to ensure that potable water is accessible to customers automatically and not only when the customers ask for it.
The ordinance banked on the 1987 Constitution that provided that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them in consonance with the general welfare clause of Republic Act (RA) 7160 otherwise known as the Local government code of the Philippines. As amended.
United Nations (UN) Resolution No. 64/292 entitled ‘The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation’ adopted by the General Assembly on July 28, 2010 formally recognizes the right to water and sanitation and acknowledges that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.