Senator Cynthia Villar received flak from netizens after suggesting that restaurants should be stopped from offering unlimited rice to their customers for health and economic considerations.
“Ipagbawal na yang unlimited rice, masama yan. Pagbawal na natin yang unlimited rice kasi nagkakasakit tayo gawa ng unlimited rice na yan, (Let’s ban the offering of unlimited rice. That is bad for the health)” Villar said during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Wednesday afternoon (June 14). She chairs the said committee.
Villar then said Filipinos should consider eating brown rice as an alternative. “We should not encourage well-milled rice. Kung pwedeng brown rice, brown rice na lang. Kasi pag kinain mo, mabigat sa tiyan, konti lang nakakain mo,” (“We should have brown rice instead because eating even a small amount can already make you feel full.”) she added.
She also said that to counter the increasing number of Filipinos with diabetes, the consumption of vegetables must be promoted. “I think we should learn how to eat vegetables because it’s healthier. Rice may be cheaper than vegetables but medications for diabetes are way more expensive,” the Senator pointed out.
Hours after the media reported Villar’s remarks, Filipinos took to social media to make fun of her seemingly innocuous remark.
Cause of Death: Cynthia Villar pic.twitter.com/XjLLYflsRg
— SENYORA (@Senyora) June 14, 2017
Cynthia Villar is dead and was replaced by Erwan Heussaff: A CONSPIRACY THEORY pic.twitter.com/I5hhLGnRqi
— Nathania (@PilosopoTanya) June 14, 2017
"Ipinagbabawal na ni Sen. Cynthia Villar ang unli rice"
People of the republic of the philippines: pic.twitter.com/gr5dsIhFoY
— ban (@IvanUngui) June 14, 2017
To be fair to Cynthia Villar, she actually makes a valid point about the potential health hazards of overconsumption of rice. And, it’s not like she already filed a bill to penalize restaurants offering unlimited rice.
However, the criticisms of her center on two points. Number one, there’s no need to legislate these things. Government agencies (the Department of Health, the National Food Authority, the National Nutrition Council, etc.) can just launch a coordinated information drive about possible alternatives to rice. Second – Filipinos just love their extra rice!