MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – The Philippines has seen severe shortages of basic food items like rice, flour and garlic, but this is the first time that a banana shortage is being reported nationwide.
Public markets, groceries and supermarkets are all reporting very low supply of bananas, particularly the saba variety.
Saba bananas are widely used for Filipino delicacies like turon (banana egg roll), bananacue (sweetened fried banana on a barbecue stick) and maruya (banana fritters).
It didn’t take long for the Department of Agriculture to pinpoint the culprit — none other than incoming President Rod Duterte. Duterte had announced that during his June 30 inauguration at Malacañang (the presidential palace), he will feed the diplomatic corps and other guests with maruya and buko (coconut) juice, instead of expensive hors d’oeuvres and champagne.
In solidarity with their new president, many Filipinos are planning on serving maruya in their respective households, hence the shortage of saba bananas.
Duterte spokesperson Martin Andanar appealed to Filipinos for calm and assured them that the shortage is only temporary.
Instead of fretting over the banana shortage, Andanar encouraged Filipinos to turn to other fruit snacks and desserts, like mangoes, halo-halo and leche flan.