In Mahar Mangahas’ column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, he claims that the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) has reduced its standards for food. One of his more poignant examples:
Dinner was changed from: pork adobo/pechay guisado/boiled rice/banana latundan to fried tulingan/boiled kangkong/boiled rice. Thus pork is replaced by tulingan; the poor may not enjoy the national dish of adobo any more, presumably due to the extra cost of vinegar, garlic, etc. In fact, the new menu excludes all meat, including chicken or beef, from what the poor may eat. Pechay is replaced by kangkong. The banana at dinner is gone, implying that the single banana at lunchtime is already enough fruit for the poor for one day.
I’ll be the last to say that a poor Filipino should indulge in foie gras or have lechon every day, but for purposes of being literal, these are items that the poor probably don’t eat. Then again, setting a threshold at this level is, in my view, a tad too dehumanizing. If not for the fact that the poorest of the poor already consider adobo a luxury considering a diet of watered-down instant noodle sabaw (and no, I’m not exaggerating), it should give us insight into what the poor eat, and what the poor should eat.