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MANILA, Philippines – The government on Saturday, September 9, began the distribution of P15,000 cash aid to qualified small retailers affected by the price ceilings on rice ordered by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian led the distribution of cash grants at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City with Mayor Joy Belmonte.
There were similar activities in other areas in Metro Manila led by other Cabinet secretaries with the respective local leaders: Agora Market in San Juan City with Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Mayor Francis Zamora; and Maypajo Market in Caloocan City with Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. and congressman Oscar Malapitan and Mayor Dale Malapitan.
Malacañang said in a press statement that 232 small rice retailers have received the cash grant on Saturday – 48 each in Quezon City and San Juan City, and 136 in Caloocan City.
Gatchalian thanked the rice retailers for complying with Executive Order No. 39, which took effect on September 5. Under EO 39, the price ceiling for regular milled rice is P41 per kilogram and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice.
The country’s economic managers support the imposition of price ceilings as a quick fix to the spike in rice prices, but economists and various groups oppose it, warning that EO 39 would worsen the situation. Former finance undersecretary Cielo Magno was also opposed to the price ceiling, a view that led to her termination.
The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) had earlier warned the price ceiling would drive away supply and fuel the black market, and that traders will use it to justify lowering the buying prices from farmers. It urged the government to lift or reduce existing import tariffs on rice from 35% to 10%, which it said will have an immediate effect on lowering rice prices. – Rappler.com