MANILA – The implementation of the Kadiwa ng Pasko project will continue even beyond the Yuletide season, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Thursday, as he acknowledged the importance of offering more affordable products to Filipino consumers.
During the Kadiwa ng Pasko caravan in Quezon City, Marcos sought tie-ups with local government units (LGUs) to ensure the success of the project.
"Magtutulungan na ang Office of the President (OP) at ang ating mga LGU para lahat dahan-dahang kumakalat ang dami nito. Kaya’t ‘yan po ang ating dapat ipagpatuloy (The Office of the President and the LGUs will work together to spread more [Kadiwa] stores. We will continue the project,” Marcos said.
"At masasabi ko na kahit pagkatapos na ng New Year ay hindi naman namin ititigil ‘yung Kadiwa ng Pasko. Patuloy nang patuloy na ‘yan. Hangga’t maaari ay patuloy ang Kadiwa para naging national program, para lahat ng buong Pilipinas ay makikita naman nila at makakatikim naman sila nung savings doon sa kanilang mga binibili (I would say that we will continue the Kadiwa ng Pasko project even after New Year. That will proceed so the entire country will enjoy more savings with the products they are buying [from the caravan])," he added.
An initiative of the Office of the President and spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, the Kadiwa ng Pasko project was formally launched on Nov. 16 to promote affordable and high-quality products.
The program gives consumers the opportunity to purchase more affordable goods and provides a market to local agricultural producers as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Marcos reiterated that the project also enables the government to offer cheaper rice, which only costs PHP25 per kilo.
The Kadiwa ng Pasko program, Marcos said, is his administration's "good" Christmas gift to the Filipino people.
"Kaya’t palagay ko ay maging magandang pamasko (I think it is a good Christmas gift)," he said. "I hope it is the gift that keeps on giving. And that is what we have been working towards."
He also expressed gratitude to the Kadiwa caravan partners and participants, including the Quezon City LGU which serves as the government model in the implementation of the project.
"Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat sa inyong pakikilahok. Nagtutulungan po tayo. Kailangan po talaga tayong magtulungan, makahanap ng paraan na tayo ay magkasama. Tayo pagka sabay-sabay ang ating galaw, kahit na anong gugustuhin natin, kahit na ano na ating pinapangarap ay makakamtan po natin (Thank you to all of you, for your participation. We are helping each other. We need to help each other and find a way to reach our goal)," Marcos said.
Stabilizing market prices
Marcos also hoped to stabilize the commodity prices in the local markets by the first quarter of 2023.
This, as he said the purpose of the Kadiwa project will change, in the event that the prices in the markets become "the same as what we can give in the Kadiwa [caravan]."
"Once we get to a point where it’s no longer necessary, where the prices in the markets are the same as what we can give in the Kadiwa, then we don’t need the Kadiwa anymore. Maybe [we'll implement the project] just for distribution para sa mga [to those in] far-flung areas," Marcos said.
"But we’re not yet there at that point, pinapakalat lang natin (we have to create more stalls) around the country right now. As it stands right now, in terms of supply, we’re okay until at the very least, February, March of next year. Hopefully by then, the prices of commodities in the market will have normalized," he added.
The Kadiwa ng Pasko project 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 caravan is being implemented in partnership with the departments of trade, interior and local government, social welfare and labor. (PNA)