DAGUPAN CITY – Seven rice retailers, among the first to comply with the price cap imposed on regular and well-milled rice, each received their PHP15,000 subsidy during the distribution at the city plaza on Wednesday.
The grant was from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) released in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Gina Siapno, president of the Rice Retailers Group Dagupan chapter, said they immediately complied with the Executive Order (EO) 39 of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
"Taus-puso kaming nagpapasalamat. Pababa na din ang presyo ng bigas kaya umaasa kaming makakabawi na din kami (We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts. The price of rice is going down so we are hoping we would be able to regain our losses)," she said in an interview.
Imelda Perrotte, one of the beneficiaries, appreciated the subsidy and even the price cap. "Sa pamamagitan nito ay nakakatulong din kami sa ating mga kababayan (Through this we are able to help our countrymen)," she said.
Mayor Belen Fernandez said she was amazed at the speedy release of the subsidy.
"We submitted the list of more than 40 rice retailers who are compliant and would qualify for the subsidy program," she said.
In an interview after the distribution, DTI Pangasinan provincial director Natalia Dalaten said the recipients were the first rice retailers they monitored to comply with the EO.
The first batch of 10 recipients from Alaminos City and six in San Carlos City will receive their subsidy on Thursday.
Dalaten said the compliance rate in the province is at 70 percent as they continue with their information dissemination and monitoring.
"But if there will be an order to enforce, DA will be in charge of the enforcement operation. Although we are part of the team, DA will be the lead agency," she said.
Violators of the price ceiling can be penalized as provided in Sections 15 and 16 under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act.
Penalties include imprisonment of up to 10 years and substantial fines ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP1 million. (PNA)