Gov’t begins cash aid distribution to rice retailers in NCR

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — The government on Saturday began distributing the ₱15,000 cash assistance to small rice retailers affected by the nationwide price ceiling on the food staple.

It began in Metro Manila, with payouts held simultaneously at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City, Agora Market in San Juan City, and Maypajo Market in Caloocan City.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), a total of 232 retailers received the subsidy across the capital region — 48 each in Quezon City and San Juan, and 136 in Caloocan.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian, meanwhile, assured retailers in other parts of the country that the aid will eventually reach them.

“Gatchalian said that the administration of President [Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.] assured the affected micro rice retailers nationwide that their cry for help amid the implementation of the mandated rice price ceiling in the country will not fall on deaf ears,” the PCO said in a statement.

The DSWD earlier said sari-sari or mom-and-pop stores outside of wet and public markets will also be eligible for a ₱5,000 subsidy.

Gatchalian added that retailers do not need to apply to receive aid, as department personnel “will go to the marketplace where the rice retailers are.”

Citing the Department of Trade and Industry, the DSWD also said ₱15,000 is enough to help small businesses for at least seven days since the effectivity of Executive Order No. 39.

The directive, which took effect on Tuesday, puts a price cap of ₱41 per kilo on regular milled rice and ₱45 per kilo on well-milled rice.