Restrooms (or lack thereof) in restos

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I am a retiree who spends most of my time visiting malls as a form of leg-and-lung exercise. And for practical reasons, I take my lunch or dinner in the mall whenever necessary. I have therefore had the experience of observing that most fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Jollibee, ChowKing, KFC and Mang Inasal (to name a few popular ones) do not have separate lavatories for their customers who crowd these places every business hour of the day, 24/7—be they located in SM Megamall, North or Fairview or elsewhere in Metro Manila.

One weekend, I ate lunch at Hainanese Delights SM North (whose prices are not necessarily “pang masa“) and was disappointed that the restaurant neither has a toilet nor a token wash basin. I had to go to another nearby resto and join the queue of people answering the call of nature. In other words, it is not impossible that one eats in Resto A, washes his hands in Resto B, and pees in Resto C. I’m aware the malls have separate restrooms but are not necessarily located near a restaurant.

My question is: Who gives the official approval for these establishments to serve food to the public without providing them with the most basic hygienic requisite like separate toilets for their customers? Is it the SM mall management, City Hall, the Department of Health, or all of the above?

This observation does not speak well of our culture, but who cares when dirty money must have changed hands among our officials and business crooks to shortchange consumers? There is, to be sure, a criminal conspiracy here.

—POMPEYO PEDROCHE

pspedroche@gmail.com

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