DSWD to begin giving ₱15,000 aid to small-scale rice retailers in Metro Manila

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — Starting Saturday, the government will begin distributing the ₱15,000 cash assistance to small rice retailers in Metro Manila who stand to lose from the price ceiling.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Friday said the payout will kick off in public markets in Quezon City, Caloocan, Manila, and San Juan.

The agency said retailers do not need to apply to receive aid, adding DSWD personnel will look for ways to reach them.

"The payout will be on the ground, meaning the DSWD paymasters will go to the marketplace where the rice retailers are,” Social Welfare Sec. Rex Gatchalian said in a statement on Friday.

Citing the Department of Trade and Industry, the DSWD said the ₱15,000 cash assistance is sufficient to help rice retailers for at least seven days since the effectivity of Executive Order 39, which imposed a price ceiling for regular milled rice at ₱41 per kilogram (kg) and well-milled rice at ₱45/kg.

Retailers earlier appealed to suspend the order since most of them will sell the staple at a loss.

The DSWD said sari-sari or mom-and-pop stores outside of wet and public markets will be eligible for a ₱5,000 subsidy, which will be sourced through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

“Unlicensed rice retailers and sari-sari store owners selling rice are also included in the SLP payout which is in line with the president’s directive that the list of beneficiaries should be inclusive,” Gatchalian said.

The department said supermarket and convenience stores are excluded from the cash subsidy.