By Mayda Lagran
This July, people from the Department of Agriculture, particularly from the National Food Authority (NFA), went to Marinduque, going from one school to another to seek support for rice conservation.
NFA brought with them the Panatang Makapalay (Pledge for Rice) to Don Severino Lardizabal Memorial School, Saint Mary’s College of Marinduque, and Boac South Central School and other campuses.
NFA is hopeful that the constant recital of Panatang Makapalay in schools will convince children, their parents, and teachers to eat only the right amount of rice, no more no less.
The pledge emphasizes the value of cooking only the right amount of rice based on their usual consumption and also to eat other rice alternatives such as banana, sweet potato, and corn. Especially mentioned in the pledge was the brown (or pinawa) rice which the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) says is healthier than polished white rice.
Eating more brown rice and cutting down to one-fourth cup of rice is said to be more healthy, according to nutritionists. Being unpolished, brown rice is rich in proteins, fats, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals.
A food scientist in PhilRice, Dr. Marissa V. Romero, has been citing in various fora a 1995 research that says frequent consumption of brown rice may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, and stroke as well as cancer and diabetes.
Eating brown rice thrice a month, PhilRice said, will also decrease rice importation by an average of 50,000 million tons a year because of its higher milling recovery.
Through Presidential Proclamation no. 494, President Aquino declared 2013 as the National Year of Rice (NYR2013): an advocacy campaign that aims to lessen rice wastage, promote the right way of eating rice for better health, and increase rice yield.
The recitation of the Panatang Makapalay in schools and some government agencies is part of the strategy to popularize NYR2013.
Citing statistics from other government agencies, PhilRice said each Filipino wastes two tablespoons of cooked rice every day.
When accumulated, that amount of rice wasted could have fed 2.6 million people in a year and cut down expenses in imported rice by as high as P6 billion.
On the other hand, NFA also promoted their I-Rice to children during the Panatang Makapalay campus campaigns. NFA Quality Assurance Officer Benita Olympia said I-Rice (or Iron-Fortified Rice) are white rice mixed with iron (the grains are yellowish in color) which are highly recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, and malnourished children.
I-Rice is also believed to help cure anemia. nang mabigyan halaga ang pagod ng mga magsasaka at nang makatulong na maging sapat ang bigas sa Pilipinas. Aking isasapuso ang panatang ito dahil sa bawat butil ng bigas o kanin na aking matitipid ay may buhay na masasagip.(LBR/LP/MNL/PIA4B, Marinduque)