MANILA, Philippines — Twitter users were up in arms on Wednesday over news that Senator Cynthia Villar had suggested ending the unlimited or “unli” rice offerings of restaurants as a way of reducing diabetes among Filipinos.
Villar also said the promo leads to waste in a country that needs to import much of its rice requirement.
A transcript of an interview with Villar posted on the Senate website shows she was asked, in relation to the hearing on rice importation on that day: “You mentioned earlier that unli rice should be removed?”
“You know, the findings in other countries, they have a better diet,” she replied. “There’s not too much rice, there are vegetables, too. If you really ask doctors, that’s a better diet. So we should train Filipinos not to eat too much rice because they become diabetic. And you know, it’s expensive to cure diabetes … So that can help. What they call unlimited rice, that isn’t good for our diet.”
The lawmaker quickly climbed up the Twitter trends.
Twitter user @cliffyFORD quipped, “Si Senator Cynthia Villar ang sagot sa pagpapapayat mo (Senator Cynthia Villar is the answer to your slimming regimen).”
@notvixtoria asked aloud, “Oy Filipino ba talaga si Cynthia Villar? Bakit ayaw niya ng unli rice. Sobrang na–o-offend ako as a person na nakakalahati ‘yung kaldero ng kanin (Is Cynthia Villar really a Filipino? Why doesn’t she like unli rice? I’m so offended as a person who can eat half a pot of rice).”
@ethanbusmente tweeted at the senator to say, “@Cynthia_Villar Hello po who hurt you???”
Others asked the lawmaker not to interfere with their love of carbohydrates and focus on other issues instead.
Villar, who is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, expressed doubts the country would be self-sufficient in terms of rice supply. She noted that Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol had “projected” that there would be no rice importation by 2018, but that this still depended on the country’s production.
“If the production can meet the consumption then no importation. Many have projected the same, but it had never been fulfilled,” she said.
“It’s really hard because you have to solve the problem of productivity. I hope they can solve it, like mechanization, better seeds, which are the major problems that we have really not been able to solve for a long, long time,” Villar added.
CLICK THE IMAGE TO WATCH NEWS5’S VIDEO REPORT ON PEOPLE’S REACTIONS TO VILLAR’S PROPOSAL: