VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Did Sen. Villar never say she wanted a ban on unli rice?

Senator Cynthia Villar was quick to clear up her statement on banning unlimited rice promos in food chains after she was roundly criticized, complete with hilarious memes on social media.

The agriculture and food committee chair said in a news release she never planned on proposing a bill that would impose a ban on the Filipinos’ staple.


“I am not planning to make a law banning ‘unli rice,’ not at all. I just voiced out my concern that eating too much rice is one of the main causes of high blood sugar that leads to diabetes. But, of course, 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.”

(Source: Villar: I am not planning to make a law banning unli rice, June 15, 2017)

In an interview with TV5 anchor Raffy Tulfo, Villar clarified:

“Eh, pero hindi naman po tayo mag-le-legislate na ipinagbabawal ang rice (But we won’t push for a law banning rice), I’m just telling them that we should adopt a healthier diet.”

(Source: Sen. Cynthia Villar, hindi maghahain ng batas na magbabawal sa unli rice, watch from 0:45-0:51)


What did Villar really say?

During the June 14 committee hearing on rice imports:

“(I)pagbawal na natin yang unlimited rice. Kasi nagkakasakit tayo gawa ng unlimited rice na yan. We should learn how to eat vegetables.”

(Sources: Pahayag ni Sen. Cynthia Villar kaugnay ng panawagang i-ban ang unli-rice, umano [sic] ng batikos, GMA News, watch from 0:42-0:54
‘Huwag naman pati unli rice,’ News5Everywhere, watch from 1:21-1:29
Villar says no to unli rice, CNN Philippines)

The Filipino word “ipagbawal” means to “prohibit, inhibit, forbid, ban, interdict.”

As a lawmaker, the only way to carry it out is through legislation.