Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda has filed a proposed ordinance seeking to encourage the sale and use of iron-fortified rice or “I-Rice” in the city. In her proposed ordinance, Tabanda noted the resolution of the National Nutrition Council. The said resolution entitled “Scaling up Rice Fortification with Iron for Social
Safety Net Programs in the Philippines enjoins the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to urge the local government units to use iron-fortified rice for their social safety net programs such
as disaster response and rehabilitation, for feeding programs, and for use in their canteens, hospitals, and
meetings, and to enact ordinances in support of rice fortification.

In response, the DILG issued the corresponding memorandum (MC No. 2022- 089). The proposed ordinance stated that it shall be the declared policy of Baguio City to “protect and promote the health of its constituency and to establish an effective food regulatory mechanism to ensure that proper nutrition is provided to all.” All offices under the City Government of Baguio and the national government agencies in the city shall use and serve only iron-fortified rice for their social programs and activities such as feeding programs, disaster relief operations, child development centers, government-owned hospitals, public school and hospital canteens, rehabilitation centers, meetings, and conferences.

All stores and food service establishments in the city shall be encouraged to sell iron fortified rice. A properly labeled container for iron-fortified rice shall be placed along with the other regular rice to give
customers the free choice. Likewise, food service establishments shall be encouraged to serve and include in their menu iron fortified rice.

To ensure full implementation of the ordinance, monitoring and reporting shall be conducted by the barangay health workers (for sari-sari stores); sanitary inspectors with a representative from the City Nutrition Office (for food outlets, groceries, restaurants, and school and hospital canteens); market superintendent (for the public market and city-owned satellite markets); City Social Welfare and Development Office (for child development centers, feeding programs, disaster relief operations, rehabilitation centers, and other social programs/activities); and focal person designated by the government agencies conducting the meetings and conferences.

The city government shall provide positive reinforcement by giving awards and incentives to compliant stores and food service establishments. The Baguio City Investment Board shall establish a mechanism for the awards and incentives in accordance with the Baguio City Investments and Incentives Code. The proposed ordinance has been approved by the city council on first reading and referred to the Committee on Health, Sanitation, Ecology, and Environmental Protection for review.

SP/Jordan G. Habbiling

Amianan Balita Ngayon