October 4, 2022

Jose Mari Chan is known to be a musical genius. He has immortalized himself by composing and singing the song, “Christmas in our Hearts” which every living soul in the Philippines sings and hears every time the Christmas season arrives. Next to the song, “Happy Birthday” and the national anthem, it is probably the most popular and most sung song among us. Why not?

The melody and the tune are easy. The tempo is nostalgic and the song itself is as timeless as it is entertaining. The song will live long after our lifetime and Jose Marie Chan’s legacy in the music industry is sealed forever.

But so much for the musician in Jose Marie Chan. Unknown to many, he is also an astute and fair businessman. Among his businesses is the production of sugar. He is a sugar baron and his family has a vast sugar plantation in Negros Occidental. It is for this reason that last Friday, he was the guest in one of the prime time talk shows in main stream media. He was invited to talk about the apparent sugar shortage in the country and the possible solutions to remedy it.


In his sugary toothy smile, Mr. Chan casually said the local production of sugar is not enough to meet the demand for the moment, as if it was not a problem he was concerned about. He added to remedy this, the government needs to import several tons of sugar to address the shortage. He is fully aware that sugar is listed among the basic commodities in our country, along with rice, flour and yes, the galunggong.


Whether the shortage in sugar is real or imagined is a matter of perception. While Chan is correct when he said sugar is a basic commodity, it is only in the sense that it is the product used to season our daily food. Cakes, chocolates, breads, colas, drinks, and even our viands, at times, contain sugar. But, it is not really one commodity that we can do without. We can live without sugar. In fact, there are more benefits in doing away or lessening sugar intake than it is in using it every day.


For instance, one of the leading causes of mortality in our country is diabetes. While studies have shown that diabetes is inherently hereditary, the same studies prove that sugar is the leading cause of diabetes. In like manner that sugar complicates and compounds many ailments.


To a certain extent, high blood pressure and kidney problems are attributed to sugar. Obesity is primarily due to sugar. So, while sugar is sweet and delicious, it is not at all healthy. Most doctors advice people who are getting advanced in age or are sick to lessen their sugar intake. Those going on diet are banned from taking too much sugar.


Besides, sugar is absorbed not only from the refined product of the sugarcane but more so from other digestible foods. Rice has sugar, fruits have sugar, vegetables have sugar and the liquids we drink have sugar. There is sugar everywhere that even with a shortage in the supply, there is so much sugar flowing that we, as a people, are known to be among the happiest and the sweetest creatures on Earth.


Hence, there is really no reason to be alarmed if there is a shortage in the sugar. Regardless, there is already too much sweet going around that even without adding more sugar, it tastes the same.