SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC), the Philippines’s leading hybrid rice company and manufacturer of Doña Maria Premium Quality Rice, donated 25,000kg of Doña Maria Jasponica brown rice to different foundations, hospitals and donation networks in a bid to boost the immune system of Filipino recipients. Some of the company’s partners are GMA Kapuso Foundation, the Quezon City local government and online food community Let’s Eat Pare.
SLAC Chairman and CEO Dr. Henry Lim believes brown rice will help improve the health of those in the frontlines and in other affected communities. According to research, brown rice contains essential phytonutrients and vitamins such as vitamins A, C and E, and selenium, all of which boost the immune system. The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has campaigned for a change in the Filipino diet staple from white to brown rice given the latter’s health benefits.
Dr. Robert Michael Gan, an internist and endocrinologist from Metropolitan Medical Center and Makati Medical Center, is one of the many medical professionals advocating for the inclusion of brown rice in the Filipino diet. “There is a good number of articles, both locally and internationally, that underscore the health benefits of eating brown rice. Now that we are up against a pandemic, it is imperative that we have a healthy diet to boost our immune system,” notes Gan.
Cognizant that a healthy diet is vital in overcoming the global health crisis, Lim highlights the need to prioritize food security amid the implementation of quarantine protocols in many across the country and the resultant difficulty by many Filipinos to access food.
Securing food for the most vulnerable
The philanthropist businessman through SLAC hopes to help secure food for those most impacted by Covid-19: the frontliners and vulnerable communities. With many businesses and work suspended since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and mobility restricted because of the lack of public transportation, underprivileged Filipinos are hard-pressedto provide for their families.
In addition to the sacks of brown rice, the company donated a total of 100,000 kg of white rice to its partner-organizations. It also gave away 7,000 packs of its snack food product Doña Maria Brown Rice Puff and 3,000 servings of ready-to-eat meals to different hospitals, including Covid-19 referral centers UP-Philippine General Hospital and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital. The other SLAC beneficiaries are the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), UERM Memorial Hospital, and the University of Santo Tomas Hospital.
Acting as one global village
Lim encourages everyone to rise to the occasion and show compassion to each other as members of one global village. “We at SL Agritech view ourselves as citizens of a single global village, especially in times such as this Covid-19 pandemic. We try our best to help alleviate the unfortunate conditions of our countrymen and to provide aid wherever and whenever we can. During these uncertain and challenging times, we remain committed to helping ensure food supply, especially for our frontliners and our fellow Filipinos with scarce resources. Together, we can heal as one,” Lim shared.
Last August 2019, Lim was conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Marangal na Pinuno by Duterte for his outstanding contributions to the improvement of the country’s economic and civic welfare. Envisioning a Philippine society with zero hunger, Lim spearheads different corporate citizenship projects such as the Rice Bucket Challenge and the Balik Biyaya program, through which SLAC is able to provide rice to more than 50,000 Filipino families.