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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – More than 250 retailers impacted by the government’s ceiling on rice prices received P15,000 each in cash from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte.
The cash grants were given in response to the challenges faced by small rice retailers following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s order for price ceilings on the essential national staple.
Marcos Jr., who serves as the head of the Department of Agriculture (DA), issued Executive Order No. 39 on August 31, setting price limits at P41 per kilo for regular milled rice and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice.
The DTI said 171 small rice retailers received the cash aid during the second round of the distribution of assistance to micro rice retailers at the Zamboanga del Norte Convention Center in Estaka, Dipolog City, on Tuesday, September 12.
The DTI said 86 beneficiaries from Zamboanga del Sur were given cash assistance through the DSWD earlier.
The beneficiaries were those with valid business licenses from the DTI’s Business Permits and Licensing Office and those who were selling regular milled and well-milled rice.
The recipients also included retailers listed by the DTI as sole proprietors or registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as partnerships or corporations engaged in the sale of regular milled and well-milled rice.
DTI-Zamboanga Peninsula Assistant Director Maridel Dengal said, “DTI is committed to supporting the national government in helping affected micro rice retailers… Our teams are working hard on a day-to-day basis to efficiently distribute assistance to all beneficiaries.”
In Cagayan de Oro, Councilor George Goking said there was a need for an “enhanced” executive order to include more rice industry players in the government’s aid program.
Goking said the bigger rice industry players were adversely affected by Marcos Jr.’s price ceiling, too.
He also sought regulatory powers for the National Food Authority (NFA).
“While the executive order was necessary to prevent price manipulations, Councilor Goking is seeing some problems that need to be addressed by an enhanced or expanded EO,” Goking said. – Rappler.com