Jun 15, 2017

To say Filipinos love their rice is an understatement. Following Senator Cynthia Villar’s concern on the over-consumption of rice and her desire to ban “unli rice” promotions, Filipinos took to the internet to voice their own concerns.

To quote a parody account of Mang Inasal, which is known for their unli rice promos: “I am sobrang triggered po.” Naturally, reactions were mostly negative, ranging from sadness over the possible banning to anger and dismay towards the government.

But early Thursday afternoon, Villar released a statement clarifying the issue. “I am not planning to make a law banning ‘unli rice,’” her statement says. “I just voiced out my concern that eating too much rice is one of the main causes of high blood sugar that leads to diabetes. I cannot prevent people from eating unlimited amount of rice. It is their choice. It was just a genuine expression of concern on my part.”

Cue sighs of relief.

This just goes to show that again, people should know better than to even try taking rice away from Filipinos. Especially the ones that are affordable or worth their money—like unlimited rice.

While we do understand Villar’s concern for the Filipino’s health, she could’ve expressed it in better terms. As a government official, her words are taken seriously, and as such, its effect and the response from the listening public must be considered.

nolisoliph eats food trends cynthia villar wants to ban unli rice
Photo of heirloom rice taken during this year’s Madrid Fusion. These varieties can be used as substitutes for white rice, and may be healthier, too.

Since the hearing was of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, she could have also mentioned other ways to promote healthy eating. After all, rice isn’t the only thing that is bad for the body when consumed in excess. Aside from brown rice and vegetables, there are other local produce that are also healthy and can serve as white rice substitutes. These products could use a boost—Villar talking about them while she was on the topic of white rice could’ve helped.

As consolation though, Villar says she has already “recommended to government departments… to incorporate vegetable gardening in schools in the feeding program,” and to “source the ingredients locally, particularly the perishable produce, to help the small farmers and cooperatives,” Inquirer reports.

That sounds a lot better than banning unli rice. That’ll also leave the rice-loving public and our farmers a lot happier, too.


Related stories:

No unli rice? Here’s how to cope

Berna Romulo-Puyat loves local produce and she tells us why we should, too

You can actually use heirloom rice for risotto

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