MANILA – For the Philippines to be rice self-sufficient, former Senator Ramon ‘Jun’ Magsaysay Jr. believes that Filipinos should change their diet and lifestyle.
On ANC's “Harapan 2013” forum Tuesday night, Magsaysay said that in order to solve the problem of rice self-sufficiency, Filipinos must “think out of the box.”
“There should be an education for the Filipinos to eat more vegetables and fruits. There’s a saying that in 21 meals a week, if we can eat two meals other than rice, we don’t have to import rice. So it’s the diversification of the diet, the lifestyle, eating more fruits and vegetables and even corn,” he said.
Magsaysay, the former chairman of the Senate agriculture committee, said he believes that the budget being allocated by the agriculture department to rice and corn is excessive.
The Philippines is one of the world’s largest importers of rice.
Magsaysay also believes that the million-peso fertilizer fund scam will soon be ruled upon by the Sandiganbayan.
“It’s a complicated case, because a lot of congressmen and governors were named,” said Magsaysay, who headed the Senate investigation in 2006.
“I believe that once this will be resolved, anybody who’d like to do the same thing in the future will be forewarned and punished if found guilty,” he added.
The 74-year-old Magsaysay is again gunning for a Senate seat in May under the ruling Liberal Party, after serving as senator from 1995-2007.
He said he has maintained a clean bill of health after undergoing prostate surgery in 2006.
“That was 7 years ago and from that time I went into dairy farming and I’ve been doing a lot of manual management work in Bai, Laguna. I was asked by the President about the same thing, and I told him I’ve been working since 2007,” said Magsaysay.
He said he does not believe that his age will be detrimental to legislative work if he wins a seat in the Senate.
He said 47% of senators in the United States are 70 years old or older.
“The Senate means age, wisdom experience and hindsight,” he said.