As the country celebrates National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM), the call for half-cup rice servings has garnered support from the country’s legislative body to sponsor a bill that was first filed in the Senate in 2013.
“As of today, two congressmen have already expressed their willingness to volunteer as sponsors for the bill we are trying to revive,” said Dr. Hazel V. Antonio, lead of the NRAM celebration.
Based on 2015 data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, an individual wastes approximately 10g or 2 tablespoons of rice daily, amounting to P7 billion annually, which could have fed 2.5 million Filipinos for a year.
Antonio clarified that the half-cup rice servings are not intended as a mandatory measure, but aim to provide an option that aligns with the individual preference of consuming less rice.
“The theme of the National Rice Awareness for six years is ‘BeRICEponsible’ until 2028. One of its advocacies is ‘kanin ay wag sayangin’ or do not waste rice. We hope to promote ‘RICEponsible’ food consumption by encouraging food establishments to offer half-cup rice servings,” she said.
This initiative is also aligned with the country’s pledge to reduce food wastage by 50%, a commitment made with 196 nations in support of Target 16 under the Convention on Biological Diversity of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
Meanwhile, Dr. Marissa V. Romero, a food scientist, said that reducing rice intake helps prevent diabetes—a leading cause of death due to its associated complications.
She explained that excessive consumption of white rice, especially those with a high glycemic index, can lead to higher blood sugar and obesity, which is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases.
“Consuming less rice or rice with a low glycemic index is a promising approach to help diabetic patients, those with high blood sugar levels, or those who want to prevent it, due to its slow conversion from starch to glucose,” she said.
Since 2013, 46 local government units have implemented ordinances on half-cup rice serving including towns in Aklan, La Union, and Bohol.