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Gov’t cash aid helps rice sellers sustain their business

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY --- A total of 154 micro and small rice retailers in Albay affected by the price ceiling under Executive Order (EO) 39 issued by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. expressed their gratitude to the government after receiving financial assistance on Wednesday.

During the payout at Pacific Mall, Evelyn Saminal, president of Polangui rice retailers, said the PHP15,000 assistance provided to each beneficiary will help them sustain their business by reducing losses and enabling them to buy new stocks of rice.

“The sustainable livelihood program (SLP) of the government is indeed a good help to all of us. From the previous month, we had a big amount of capitalization incurred. We followed EO No. 39 with the regular milled rice at PHP41 per kilo and well-milled rice at PHP45 per kilo. The money will be used to buy other items that will be sold in the market,” Saminal said in an interview.

She said EO 39 which mandates the rice price ceiling is a help to all consumers.

For his part, Department of Social Welfare and Development-5 (Bicol) Regional Director Norman Laurio said a total of 578 beneficiaries will receive the assistance worth a total of PHP8.67 million.

Criste Celeste Nociete, 48, from Ligao City, thanked the government for also thinking about the welfare of the rice retailers and not just the buying public.

“We complied with the EO 39 ranging from PHP44 to PHP45 per kilo for the (regular milled) and well-milled rice (respectively). The assistance will help us to get back what we’ve lost. Thank you, Mr. President,” she said.

Another beneficiary from Tabaco City, 41-year-old Ricky San Juan, a retailer for eight years now, said the assistance is a big help in sustaining his business.

“Para po samuya na retailer kan bagas, dakula na bagay po iyan na assistance. Makatabang sinda samuya, makatabang man kami sa kapwa. Ta simpre so nabakal ming bagas na halangkaw ang presyo mapapalitan. Makabakal na kami ki bagas na pwede ipabakal sa PHP41 and PHP45, makasabay na kami sa presyohan (For us rice retailers, that assistance is a big thing. They help us and in return, we are helping others too. Since the rice that we bought at higher price will now be replaced. We can now buy rice that can be sold at PHP41 and PHP45, we can keep up with the price),” San Juan said.

He added the assistance would be used to purchase additional sacks of rice.

“Hindi na ako malulugi sa presyo (I will not lose at that price anymore),” he said.

Edgar Delgado, a rice retailer in this city, said the assistance will also provide more opportunities to buy rice and sell it at the right price.

“Ibabakal ko man simpre ki bagas, salamat Mr. President. (I will also use it to buy rice, thank you, Mr. President),” he said.

Hilda Consulta from Tiwi, Albay, said the assistance will also help the consumers since the lower prices would give them savings on their budget.

“Malaki ang epekto sa mga consumers ng mataas ng presyo ng bigas. Itong tulong sa amin ay parang tulong na din sa mga consumers ( The high price of rice has a big impact on consumers. This help to us also helps consumers),” she said.

Department of Trade and Industry-5 (Bicol) Regional Director Dindo Nabol noted in an interview that Bicol is one of the regions with a high number of subsidy beneficiaries.

“We made sure that the beneficiaries are following the guidelines of EO 39. They will sign a document with corresponding undertakings. After the payouts, the more we will be strict as to the compliance since they already receive the assistance,” Nabol said. (PNA)

GOV’T SUBSIDY. Hilda Consulta (left), a small rice retailer from Tiwi Albay, receives PHP15,000 financial assistance from a Department of Social Welfare and Development-5 (Bicol) personnel at a mall in Legazpi City on Wednesday (Sept. 13, 2023). A total of 578 rice retailers in the region will be provided with government subsidies to help them cope with losses due to the imposition of rice price caps. (PNA photo by Connie Calipay)


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