Makati, Mandaluyong rice traders get P1.89-M cash aid from gov’t

Some 126 rice retailers in the cities of Mandaluyong and Makati on Wednesday received close to PHP2 million in cash assistance from the government. A total of 71 private retailers got PHP15,000 each or a total of PHP1,065,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during the payout at the lobby of the Blue Building Annex of the Mandaluyong City Hall. Victor Victoria, executive secretary of Mayor Benjamin Abalos Sr., said the city government immediately responded when they received the order about the payout schedule. 'From the moment we received the order, the Office of the Mayor has acted immediately, we have complied to all the requirements that were asked of us. Starting with the council resolution, with ocular visits, with rice retailers throughout Mandaluyong,' he said in an interview on the sidelines of the payout. Victoria said they have also put up Kadiwa stores near Barangay Addition Hills in the city to help rice retailers. "I think this program will also help in (addressing) our rice problem,' he added. Three beneficiaries from the city thanked the government for the financial aid. Darius Gabia, 40, who has been retailing rice for the past seven years, admitted that they have to continue their business despite incurring losses. 'This assistance is a big help to us because we will be able to get more rice. We will use it to finance our retail business,' he said. Brigida Mesa, who has been in the business of rice trading for 20 years, said they will use the money to augment their stocks and sell the rice following the price ceiling of PHP41 and PHP45. 'This would really help us and at least, the losses can be subsidized,' she added. The retailer used to sell rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) until 2020 when the pandemic hit the country and the NFA stopped selling the agricultural product. Marilyn Eleazar, who started as a rice retailer in 2015, said she will use the cash assistance to buy more rice and sell it following the price cap set by the government. 'Of course, we will still buy rice to help others, or those who can't afford expensive rice,' she said. Eleazar also thanked President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for the assistance. 'Thank you very much because somehow, they responded to the needs of small proprietors like us. It's a big thing on the needs of the people,' she added. For Eduardo Casao, he would use the money to buy rice that has a low price so that consumers will be able to afford it. 'I will buy rice (low price) so that they will not be burdened. Thank you very much to President Bongbong Marcos,' added the seller, who has been selling rice for 16 years. On the other hand, two of the 55 recipients in Makati City will also use the PHP15,000 to buy more stocks of rice. 'We will buy more stocks, it's a business, we will use it to make profit,' said Evelyn Nicolas Laygo, who has been in the rice business for 30 years. 'We thank the government for this cash aid. It's a big help, we will no longer lend money from the Indian lenders,' she added. Another beneficiary, Lito Yambao Nolasco, a rice retailer for 12 years, said they will use it as additional fund for their business and to buy more rice. 'We would like to thank the Marcos administration for providing us this cash aid,' he added. Meanwhile, 55 retailers in Makati received a total cash aid of PHP825,000. Aside from the DSWD, the cash assistance program for rice retailers is also in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Agriculture with the different local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region. The cities of Marikina, Pasig, Valenzuela and Pateros also provided cash aid to 736 rice retailers in their areas on Wednesday amounting to PHP11.040 million

Source: Philippines News Agency