Marcos satisfied with implementation of price cap on rice
The implementation of the government-imposed price cap on regular and well-milled rice is going well as the campaign against hoarders continues, President Marcos said on Tuesday.
“The enforcement is going as well as we can expect,” the President told reporters on the sidelines of his visit to the Department of Agrarian Reform central office in Quezon City.
Mr. Marcos met earlier in the day with concerned government agencies in Malacañang to discuss the enforcement of Executive Order No. 39, which froze the prices of regular and well-milled rice at P41 and P45 per kilo, respectively, following the “alarming” increase in the retail prices of the staple.
He said retailers who initially hesitated selling their rice stocks at lower prices were slowly resuming vending after being assured of the P15,000 livelihood assistance from the government to cover their losses and support their business operations.
He said the government would continue its campaign against hoarders but he declined to divulge details so as not to give them time to “adjust.”
In a briefing, meanwhile, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said that as of Sept. 11, the agency had distributed cash aid totaling P7.5 million to 474 small and micro rice retailers in the cities of San Juan, Caloocan, Navotas, Parañaque, and Quezon City and in the province of Zamboanga del Sur.
He said he expected the number of beneficiaries to increase in the coming days as the DSWD aims to finish the distribution by Sept. 14, or before the ban on public spending starts due to next month’s barangay and youth council elections.
“Our goal is to finish at least all highly urbanized cities and regions, but we did file for exemption, and we are hopeful that we will get it there is a spillover,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it had exempted the subsidy program for rice retailers from the public spending ban.
Comelec Chair George Garcia approved on Monday the recommendation of the agency’s law department to grant the request of the DSWD for exemption from the ban against the use of public funds ahead of the elections.
Gatchalian said the President wanted the financial aid to reach the “micro-retailers” as soon as possible.
To identify more eligible beneficiaries, the Department of Trade and Industry has sought the help of the Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines, the National Food Authority, Social Security System, and market associations, Gatchalian said.