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CEBU, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas (DSWD VII) announced in a press conference on Wednesday, September 13, that 87 small rice retailers in the region would receive a cash aid P15,000 each.
The cash aid is part of the government’s Sustainable Livelihood Program – Economic Relief Subsidy Program (SLP-ERP), an effort to assist rice retailers affected by the implementation of the nationwide rice price ceiling.
DSWD VII Promotive Services Division Chief Emma Patalinghug said that beneficiaries have been profiled by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and that the initial distributions of the cash aid will be done on Thursday, September 14.
Based on DSWD VII’s official breakdown of beneficiaries, Negros Oriental will receive the most cash assistance at 69 beneficiaries or a total of P1,035,000.
This is followed by Cebu with 17 beneficiaries or P255,000 total cash assistance, Bohol with 6 beneficiaries or P90,000 total cash assistance, and Siquijor with one beneficiary or P15,000 total cash assistance.
The total amount of cash assistance to be distributed is P1,305,000.
Officials from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas announced in a press conference on Wednesday, September 13, that a total of P1.305 million in cash subsidy will be distributed to small rice retailers on Thursday, September 14. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/Lg4X6tjQZ7— John Sitchon (@TheJohnSitchon) September 13, 2023
Losses not covered
Erwin Gok-ong, vice president of the Grain Retailers Confederation of the Philippines in Cebu City’s North District, said in a MyTV Cebu media forum on Tuesday, September 12, that the cash assistance may not be enough to cover losses for complying with the price ceiling.
At present, the price cap for regular milled rice is at P41 and P45 for well milled rice. There is yet to be any price ceiling for special and premium grade rice.
Gok-ong said that a sack or 50 kilograms worth of regular milled rice from his supplier would cost P46 per kilogram or P2,300 per sack while a sack of well milled rice would cost P52 per kilogram or P2,600 per sack.
Rappler did its own calculations and found that selling the regular milled rice per kilogram from Gok-ong’s supplier at P41 would only earn P2050 while the well milled rice at P45 would earn P2250. This would incur a loss in profit of about P250 and P350 respectively.
Gok-ong estimated that rice retailers can lose up to P3,500 for every 10 sacks of rice sold per day.
“Dapat kung asa mi mangompra, muhatag sad ang gobyerno namo og medyo nga bugas, dili kay sigehan lang mi pabaligya ani hangtud kanus-a unya manga-bankrupt na mi,” Gok-ong said.
(It should be that where we buy goods, the government should also provide us with affordable rice, and not just let us sell until whenever and then we’ll all go bankrupt.)
At present, many rice retailers all over the country have bemoaned the “rushed” implementation of the rice price ceiling.
How to avail cash assistance
Eligible recipients, identified by the DTI, may avail their P15,000 cash assistance at specific venues for each of their respective provinces:
- New Carbon Market, Cebu City
- Mayor’s Office, Municipality of Minglanilla
- Consolacion Public Market, Municipality of Consolacion
- City Hall Atrium, Tagbilaran City
- Negros Oriental Convention Center, Dumaguete City
- Tigbawan Barangay Hall, Municipality of Lazi
Recipients are advised to present one valid ID at the venue and prepare for an interview.
After the interview, recipients will sign a Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) form and have their photo taken for the processing of the said document.
Cash assistance will be released upon accomplishment of the SLP form. –Rappler.com