IN ALL the food packs and relief goods handed out all over the country in the past two weeks, the two common items, apart from rice, are packs of instant noodles and tin cans of sardines. To date, hundreds of thousands of noodles and sardine cans would have been distributed and consumed by hungry jobless, cashless poor, with no option but relief goods.

Convenient and readily available, almost all mayors with their barangay captains have food bags filled with these three basic items. Beggars cannot choose, so the saying goes. But this fill of instant food diet is not confined to the poorest of the poor, some of whom have not even been given any food relief up to now.

With the mandated lockdowns, the first to go in the diet of ordinary Pinoys are natural foods; fresh vegetables, fish and fruits. This is really a disturbing trend as instant noodles have been confirmed as a major cause of spreading disease amongst us; chronic kidney disease or CKD that has seen the proliferation of Dialysis Centers in many cities and towns around the country.

So while it fills up empty stomachs, daily consumption of instant noodles, two or three times a day will end up in widespread kidney disease, and cancer among our populace. A close look at the ingredients that go into every pack of popular noodles will give a string of chemicals, one of which is the “anti-caulking” agent, a wax coating also used for Teflon pans, and styrofoam containers— reason why instant noodles don’t stick to each other. Also, Ramein of any kind (unless freshly made and served), and other instant noodles remain crispy because, they are “hydrogenated”—meaning hydrogen has been introduced to lengthen their shelf life. Studies have shown that our body needs up to two days to clean the wax, so can you imagine the wax build up in the digestive system of the Pinoy masa fed daily with instant noodles?

Thank God, the mayor of Pasig, Vico Sotto showed the way for Mobile Market provision of fresh produce—one that has been copied by other young, responsive mayors in Bulacan, and other provinces. Noteworthy too is Governor Bong’s recent launching of the Negros Occidental Food Terminal Market to make fresh veggies and produce available to the Negrenses. Located at Brgy. 12, it is open to fresh food delivery and direct buy of compliant residents. Gov. Bong should go further to allow screened “biyaheros” to buy at fruit and vegetable sources like Don Salvador Benedicto and other established fruit/food producing areas, now threatened with hunger because of failure to sell their products. Natural food can be bought and included in food packs like okra, squash, string beans, etc. as a few resourceful mayors have done elsewhere.