‘Subsidy is gov’t thanking retailers effort to cut rice prices’

Small-scale rice retailers in Cebu who received on Thursday the PHP15,000 subsidy were happy that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. recognized their contribution to the effort of bringing down the prices of the household staple and making it affordable to the consumers. Erwin Gok-ong, a rice retailer at Carbon Market and vice president of Cebu City-North of the Grain Retailers Confederation of the Philippines, said they were elated by the move of the government to aid them amid the price ceiling on rice and many of them were hoping that a second tranche of subsidy will be given so that they can continue selling affordable rice to the public. "I am also happy because the subsidy has lessened my losses as I am the first retailer in Cebu who sell PHP41 per kilo for regular-milled rice and PHP45 per kilo for well-milled rice in response to the call of the president to implement a price ceiling," Gok-ong told the Philippine News Agency after the distribution of the subsidy. Gok-ong was one of the 17 rice retailers in Cebu who were affected by the price ceiling on rice amid the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 39 claimed Thursday their PHP15,000 cash subsidy. Rose Mae Quiñanola, director of the Department of Trade and Industry-Cebu, said Cebu has 17 rice retailers (eight from Cebu City, six from Consolacion, three from Minglanilla) who received their one-time subsidy under the Sustainable Livelihood Program-Economic Relief Subsidy (SLP-ERS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during the ceremonial distribution at the Carbon Market, Minglanilla town mayor's Office, and Consolacion Public Market. She said these 17 rice retailers in Cebu were on top of the 63 from Negros Oriental, six from Bohol, and one from Siquijor who were listed as beneficiaries of the subsidy amid the implementation of EO 39 that puts a standard price ceiling of rice. Market inspection Meanwhile, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Terence Calatrava, who inspected rice retailers at the Carbon Market on Thursday, said his office will coordinate with other government agencies monitoring compliance with the rice price ceiling. Calatrava said the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies are tasked to roam around public markets in the region to identify defiant rice retailers so they could recommend possible sanctions. Emma Patalinghug, chief of the Promotive Services Division of the DSWD-Central Visayas, said the 87 rice retailers underwent profiling conducted by the DTI offices in Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. Patalinghug said the rice retailers who claimed their subsidy also underwent on-site verification to ensure that each of them could present documents to prove they were qualified for the program. Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymund Alvin Garcia, who attended the pay-out ceremony said the city government has supported the EO39 of Marcos. 'Cebu City has responded to the presidential issuance by forming the Price Monitoring Task Force that will focus on inspecting and monitoring rice prices in the city's public markets,' Garcia told the reporters. The task force is spearheaded by former City Administrator Suzzane Ardosa

Source: Philippines News Agency