City councilor calls out restos for lack of free potable water

Councilor Ely Estante Jr.

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

A member of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Iloilo City on Wednesday called out food establishments for not providing service water to their customers, which is a violation of an ordinance he authored.

In the city council’s regular session on Wednesday, Councilor Ely Estante Jr. claimed that some food establishments did not serve free potable water to customers.

Estante based his claims on his own experience and that of his staff and barangay captains.

“There are food establishments in the city that still do not provide free potable service water to their customers, in blatant violation of this ordinance,” the councilor remarked.

“One time, I went with a visitor to a famous restaurant here in [Iloilo City]. When I asked for service water from the waiter, he refused, and instead served me bottled mineral water which cost ₱50,” he narrated.

Estante called it a “wanton disregard” of City Regulation Ordinance No. 2018-051, which requires restaurants and food outlets in the city to serve free potable service water to their customers.

“We should not allow this bad practice, this dreadful disregard of a city ordinance, to continue to happen. This is a grave insult and heavy defiance of the city council as representatives of the people,” he said.

He urged the City Health Office and the City Legal Office to strictly implement their mandates under the Ordinance, which Section 5 provides for the water sampling and inspection for compliance of food establishments.

The ordinance, which Estante himself authored, was passed on March 27, 2018, “in recognition of the right of [Filipino] citizens for free access to safe, clean, and potable drinking water.”

It cited the Resolution 64/92 of the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, which recognized the human right to water and sanitation.

Aside from the provision of free potable service water, Section 3 of the ordinance also mandates the display of “Free Service Water” signages in conspicuous or visible places, and the maintenance and cleanliness of water dispensers, water vending machines, and water storage containers.

Owners and/or proprietors are chiefly liable under Section 6 for failing to provide free service water or failing to place signages.

A first offense of the ordinance metes a warning, while the second and third offenses are subject to fines of ₱3,000 and ₱5,000, respectively, and suspension of Business Permit and temporary closure until such time that the offender complies for the latter offense.

The City Legal Office is also tasked to conduct a hearing and possibly take legal action against “recalcitrant” or obstinately unwilling establishments.


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