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Capitol to resume sale of cheap rice at P29 per kilo

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 18,2024 - 10:21 AM

Market Prices Cebu. Different varieties of rice are sold at the Carbon Public Market. | Nina Mae Oliverio

Different varieties of rice are sold at the Carbon Public Market. | Nina Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu Provincial Government is set to resume selling cheap rice to the “poorest of the poor” residents of the province.

However, it will now be priced at P29 per kilo instead of the previous P25.

Governor Gwen Garcia announced the resumption during a press conference on Friday, May 17. She stressed the impact it will have on Cebu’s most vulnerable populations.

She added that the new pricing now aligns with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s program to sell rice at a reduced price of P29 per kilogram. This could be a relief amid the current market prices that have soaree up to P60 per kilogram.

“We are happy to inform the Cebuanos that we have an initial supply of 5,000 sacks of rice. We shall resume selling cheap rice to the poorest of the poor, aligning with the President’s program to sell it at P29 per kilo. This is still way below the present market prices and will help our constituents a lot,” Garcia stated.

READ: P20 per kilo rice available for Cebuanos at ‘Sugbo Merkadong Barato’

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Previously, the province relied on the National Food Authority (NFA) to sell rice at P25 per kilogram. It was crucial for sustaining programs such as Sugbo Merkadong Barato, school feeding initiatives, and the Bugasan sa Barangay program, all aimed at assisting the poorest communities and children.

Complications arose when a memo from the former NFA administrator banned rice sales without his approval.

Despite several requests from the Cebu Provincial Government, there was no response. This became problematic when the rice scandal erupted, involving rice sold to traders at up to P60 per kilogram, doubling the cost.

In response, Garcia recalled that 139 officials, including the NFA administrator and regional director, were suspended.

Larry Lacson, the newly appointed NFA administrator, recently visited Cebu to address the issues surrounding rice distribution. During his visit, it was agreed that the Cebu Province would receive an initial supply of 5,000 sacks of rice.

Moreover, Garcia said that the Cebu Provincial Government will utilize QR code cards to ensure fair distribution of rice. These cards will be issued to identified beneficiaries provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Central Visayas, allowing them to purchase between 3 to 5 kilograms of rice per week.

Once the allocated quantity is purchased, the QR code will automatically disable further purchases until the following week.

“This system limits the supply to ensure it won’t be abused,” Garcia explained. “We are doing this through QR code cards, and the list will be supplied by the DSWD Region because they have identified the poorest of the poor. When they purchase the rice for the week, the QR code ensures they can only buy the allocated amount.”

Meanwhile, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) plans to sell rice at P29 per kilogram starting this August, as confirmed by NIA Administrator Eduardo Guillen.

There are already select NIA Kadiwa Stores selling rice for P20 per kilogram as a gesture of appreciation to President Marcos, who famously promised to lower rice prices to P20 per kilogram during his campaign.

However, rice prices are still high, with some selling it at almost P60 per kg —almost triple that of Marcos’ promise. /clorenciana

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TAGS: inflation, NFA rice

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