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Villar won't file bill vs 'unlimited' rice

Rice-loving Filipinos have nothing to worry about. It turns out that Sen. Cynthia Villar will not be proposing a law banning the serving of unli rice (short for unlimited rice) in restaurants after all.

"I am not planning to make a law banning unli rice, not at all,” Villar made this clarification in a statement on Thursday following reports that she would ban unli rice noting that Filipinos should be into healthier eating habits.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said that she was simply concerned because “eating too much rice is one of the main causes of high blood sugar that leads to diabetes.”

She said that despite her concerns for Filipinos’ health, she acknowledged that she could not prevent Filipinos from enjoying rice to their heart’s content.

“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,” she further said.

Citing several studies, Villar said that the risk of acquiring diabetes has increased by 11 percent due to the consumption of a plate of rice. She pointed out that several experts have recommended consuming brown rice instead as it decreases the chances of acquiring diabetes by 16 percent.

Villar earlier urged the Departments of Agriculture, Social Welfare and Development and Health to spearhead better programs meant to ensure good nutrition and health especially among the youth.

She suggested that each school in the country incorporate vegetable gardening.

"I have recommended to the government departments and they are doing it in some areas already to incorporate vegetable gardening in schools in the feeding program, for instance,” Villar said.

“They can also source the ingredients locally, particularly the perishable produce, to help the small farmers and cooperatives,” she added.

Azer N. Parrocha/PNA