Suggestions for a suggestion: Pinoys respond to lawmaker’s ‘food pill’ idea for the poor

December 9, 2022 - 3:58 PM
High angle spoon holding blue pills (Image by Freepik)

“Food pills” for the less fortunate?

A party-list representative was flooded by alternative suggestions on how to alleviate hunger after raising the idea that the poor should be given “food pills” to survive in hard times.

Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip party-list) raised his comment during the confirmation hearing of Renato Solidum Jr. as secretary of the Department of Science and Technology by the bicameral body on Wednesday.

The solon asked if the DOST can manufacture such “food pills” or food supposedly eaten by astronauts in space as means to feed impoverished Pinoys.

“[When] they [astronauts] are in orbit, they spend days, even months, without cooking their food. Kasi po wala, hindi naman [sila] pwedeng magluto doon sa kanilang spaceship, tama po ba?” Marcoleta said.

“I’m thinking aloud na kung sakali pong makaimbento tayo nung kinakain nila, ibibigay ko po sa mga mahihirap na kababayan natin. Even for months, hindi sila kakain, hindi sila mamatay,” he added.

“Ito ho palliative lang. Meaning to say, we have [to] just fill up a gap. Kung sakali lang, matulungan natin the poorest of our poor, naimbento po ninyo ‘yung pildoras (pill) or whatever… ‘pag ininom po ng mahirap, in two weeks lang… na hindi siya bumili ng pagkain, na hindi siya nagluto, malaking bagay na po,” Marcoleta continued.

Solidum said that he will talk to the country’s scientists about it.

He added that the Philippines only have food for disaster victims with a shelf life of six months.

However, a fact-check report notes that astronauts from the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration eat three meals a day.

“Astronauts eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner,” its website says.

“Nutritionists ensure the food astronauts eat provides them with a balanced supply of vitamins and minerals,” it added.

“Some foods can be eaten in their natural forms, such as brownies and fruit. Other foods require adding water, such as macaroni and cheese or spaghetti,” NASA further said.

It added that condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise are also provided, as well as drinks like coffee, tea, orange juice, fruit punches and lemonades.

RELATED: Fact check: ‘Astronaut food’ na gusto ibigay ni Marcoleta sa mahihirap

Meanwhile, some Pinoys thought that the government could just provide actual food or give job opportunities to the poor in response to Marcoleta’s suggestion.

“Just why not boost the economy, give more job opportunities, and provide livable wages for everyone to combat poverty and hunger. Why do y’all make it complicated????” a Twitter user said.

“Okay [but here’s] a wild suggestion, totally out of pocket and very irrational suggestion that is unfathomable to be applied: What if we distributed actual food?” another online user wrote.

“And again, with this, they’ll need a huge budget for trial and error. Why won’t you just resolve it by sourcing and distributing foods instead of making unnecessary actions that’ll actually waste money?” wrote a different Pinoy.

Others suggested that the government improve the country’s agriculture and fisheries sectors.

“??!??!! Or we could just fix our agriculture and fisheries problem??? And still be able to eat onions,” a Twitter user wrote.

“This country is an agricultural one. We need to support our farmers. Not transform the system into some kind of NASA,” another Filipino partly commented.

Rising prices

Marcoleta’s comment came amid reports of price hikes in basic commodities and food items, including ingredients for Noche Buena celebrations.

READ: ‘Naiiyak na ko sa presyo mo’: Judy Ann Santos reacts to white onion price rise ‘Walang guisado?’: Garlic, onion shortage make Filipinos cry ‘Walang magpapasko sa pamilyang ito’: How Filipinos reacted to price hike of Noche Buena items

Earlier this month, red onions in the county logged the highest price compared to their counterparts around the world.

A global price monitoring website said that a kilo of it had cost around P280 to P300, which was more than three folds higher than the global average price of P85.14 (based on Google exchange rate figures at that time).

RELATED: ‘Most expensive globally’: Filipinos cry over onion price at P300 per kilo

The Department of Trade and Industry recently said that the costs of basic necessities and prime commodities were also expected to increase next year.