‘Astronaut food’ or food pill for poor broached at DOST chief’s confirmation hearing
MANILA, Philippines — Feeding the poorest Filipinos with food pills that could last for days or months like what astronauts eat in space has crossed the mind of a lawmaker.
But only if Filipino scientists could invent that kind of food.
Sagip Partylist Representative Rodante Marcoleta broached this idea on Wednesday during the confirmation hearing of Department of Science and Technology Secretary Renato Umali Solidum Jr.
Marcoleta noted that astronauts survive in space even without cooking food there.
“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,” the lawmaker said during the hearing of the Commission on Appointment’s committee on science and technology.
(I’m thinking aloud that if we could invent food that they can eat, I will give it to our poor countrymen. Even for months that they don’t eat, they will not die.)
“Meron pa ba tayong ganun? Makakagawa pa ba tayo ng ganun?” he asked.
(Do we have that kind of food? Can we do that?)
Solidum answered in the negative, noting that what is available right now are meals ready to eat for disaster victims, which have a shell life of six months.
Explaining further his idea, Marcoleta cited an example of a food pill that could be taken only once but could last for weeks already.
“Kasi po yung astronauts, ‘pag kinain niya ‘yun, it will last for several days, if not months,” he pointed out. “Kasi yung mahirap na mahirap talaga, wala po silang makakain e,” he said.
(Because when astronauts eat their food, it will last for several days, if not months. The poorest of the poor really have no food to eat.)
“Ito ho palliative lang. Meaning to say, we just have to fill up the gap. Kung sakaling matulungan natin ang poorest of the poor, naimbento po niyo yung pildoras o whatever kahit anong kulay po yun tatanggapin ko,” he added.
(This is just palliative. Meaning to say, we just have to fill up the gap. In case we can help the poorest of the poor, you can invent a pill or whatever, and I will accept it.)
“Pag ininom po ng mahirap, in two weeks lang Mr. Secretary na hindi siya bumili ng pagkain, hindi siya nagluto, ang laking bagay na po ‘yun. Makagagawa kaya tayo ng ganun?” the lawmaker further asked.
(If the poor can take the pill, they can go two weeks without buying food or cooking, and that is a huge deal. Can we make something like that?)
Solidum said they would look into it but assured the committee that food security is a concern of the DOST.
Other issues like the nominee’s hobby of watching Netflix, his favorite movies, and how to stop volcanic explosions were asked during the same hearing.
In the end, the committee recommended Solidum’s confirmation as Secretary of the DOST.
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