MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday pledged to install more Kadiwa stalls in different parts of the country, to provide Filipino consumers with more affordable and high-quality local products.
This was after Marcos, who concurrently leads the Department of Agriculture (DA), said the Kadiwa ng Pasko project is an early Christmas gift to Filipinos, as they may now buy cheaper basic commodities, including rice from the National Food Authority (NFA), which is only at PHP25 per kg.
In a speech delivered at Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City, the President expressed hope that the grand opening of Kadiwa ng Pasko outlets in 14 areas nationwide would help ease the plight of Filipinos who have to bear the brunt of global challenges, including high inflation and soaring oil prices.
"Pararamihin po natin ito hangga't may coverage na tayo na national. Bukod pa roon, kahit na ang pinangalan namin ay Kadiwa ng Pasko, kahit pagkatapos ng Pasko, patuloy pa rin ito. Hindi namin ititigil namin ito (We will expand this to ensure national coverage. Aside from that, it will continue after Christmas, even if it is named Kadiwa ng Pasko. We will not stop it)," he said.
"Sana naman kahit papaano ito ay makatulong sa inyo, makamura sa mga bilihin, para Merry Christmas naman tayo ng kaunti kahit masyado tayong binugbog ng kung anu-anong pangyayari, sinimulan ng pandemiya, tapos nasundan pa ng kung anu-anong pangyayari (I hope this could help you. May these affordable products enable you to have a Merry Christmas despite the challenges we had to face since the onset of the pandemic, followed by recent developments)."
During the event, Marcos visited the Kadiwa stalls, which featured local products of local farmers and fisherfolk, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Marcos, after delivering his speech, received several gifts from the sellers, including several pairs of Marikina-made Seacrest shoes.
He thanked the participants in the Kadiwa caravan and expressed optimism that the project would benefit both local suppliers and consumers.
"Ito ay isa sa mga maaaring gawin ng inyong pamahalaan para tulungan ang taumbayan para mas maluwag ang buhay ng ating kababayan. Kaya't maraming maraming salamat. Ako ay natutuwa na makita na nabuhay itong Kadiwa kasi magandang programa talaga 'yan (This is one of the administration's undertakings to give our countrymen a more comfortable life. So, thank you. I am grateful that this Kadiwa is being implemented because this is really a good program)," he said.
Reaching the goal of PHP20/kg. rice
Marcos also reiterated that his goal of bringing down the price of rice to about PHP20 per kg. is already within reach.
He, however, admitted that it would take some time to realize his plan.
"Palapit na tayo doon sa aking pangarap na mag-PHP20 pero dahan-dahan lang. Abutin din natin yan (We are almost there to reach our goal to reduce the price (of rice) to PHP20. But we have to take things slowly. We will be able to reach that goal)," Marcos said.
For now, he said, Filipinos may purchase more affordable rice at the Kadiwa outlets.
“'Pag bibili ng bigas, kinukuha sa NFA, kinukuha sa buffer stock, doon lang hindi kumikita ang NFA, kung ano 'yung pinambili nila, ganun din ang presyo kaya’t nakita ninyo ang bigas, PHP25 per kilo (The NFA gets the rice supply from the buffer stock, the price of rice only costs PHP25 per kg.),” he said.
The Kadiwa ng Pasko project, an initiative of the Office of the President and spearheaded by the DA, aims to promote affordable and high-quality products.
The program was launched to address inflation and price surges associated with the Christmas season.
It provides a direct farm-to-consumer food supply chain to eliminate several marketing layers and help boost the income of local agricultural producers.
The Kadiwa ng Pasko caravan is being implemented in partnership with the departments of trade, interior and local government, social welfare, and labor.
Fourteen Kadiwa stores opened nationwide – 11 in Metro Manila, one in Tacloban City, one in Davao de Oro, and one in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
First Lady Louise "Liza" Araneta-Marcos led the grand launch of the Kadiwa ng Pasko project in Parañaque City, presidential son Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander ‘Sandro’ Marcos III in Quezon City, and presidential son Joseph Simon Marcos in San Juan City.
Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr., also graced the opening of Kadiwa stores in Makati City, Presidential Management Staff Secretary Zenaida Angping in Pasay City, Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo in Valenzuela City, and Office of the Press Secretary Undersecretary Emerald Ridao in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
In Camp Aguinaldo, Ridao and Col. Paul Anthony Guerrero, acting commander of the AFP General Headquarters and Headquarters Service Command, and other senior officers led the launch of the Kadiwa ng Pasko at the camp's wellness center.
In a statement, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said among the invited merchants are the Damwag Farmers Association, Inc., and Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative.
The 'Kadiwa ng Pasko' in Camp Aguinaldo will benefit soldiers, civilian employees, dependents, and other authorized civilians and visitors. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)