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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to distribute another round of financial assistance to retailers affected by the government’s move to implement a price ceiling on rice.
The cash payouts will be given to select retailers on Monday, September 11, and will target 337 small rice retailers in Metro Manila and in Zamboanga del Sur, as identified by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
At least 15 beneficiaries in Pateros, 161 in Navotas City, 129 in Parañaque City, and 32 in Zamboanga del Sur will receive P15,000 through DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program.
The cash grants comes as small rice retailers bear the brunt of President Ferdinand Marcos’ placing a price ceiling on the national staple. Marcos, who heads the Department of Agriculture, signed Executive Order No. 39 on August 31 that caps the price at P41 per kilo for regular milled rice, and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice.
The price ceiling took effect on September 5, and will remain until lifted by the President, whose campaign promises include bringing the price of rice down to P20.
The scheduled cash payout on Monday is the second after initial distributions in Quezon City and San Juan City on September 9. DSWD and DTI are also set to meet soon to identify more targets in NCR and other provinces.
The Marcos administration is also looking into allotting P2 billion from the 2023 budget to provide more financial assistance to affected rice retailers.
The office of House Speaker Martin Romualdez on September 4, said that the House appropriations panel is coordinating with the Department of Budget and Management “to swiftly explore avenues for the allocation of the specified amount.”
Economists, including national scientist and economist Raul Fabella earlier cautioned that setting a price cap on rice can only buy the government little time to solve the rice supply problem.
Once the solution proves ineffective over time, Fabella warned the government might find that the problem already turned “cancerous.” – Rappler.com