CABANATUAN CITY – Some 139 small rice retailers on Tuesday received PHP15,000 each as subsidy for losses incurred due to price caps on regular and well-milled rice.
In an interview, Dr. Richard Simangan, Department of Trade Industry (DTI) provincial director, said the recipients comprised the first batch out of the potential 2,000 retailers in 27 towns and five cities of Nueva Ecija based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The DTI is working with the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior and Local Government, local government units (LGUs), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine National Police and other agencies as support units, in implementing Executive Order (EO) 39 which provides for the temporary rice price cap.
Simangan said they also tap the expertise of the National Food Authority (NFA) in classifying grains as the law provides that only micro retailers who sell regular and well-milled rice shall be entitled to the subsidy.
He said they continue to verify potential beneficiaries in the province based on the PSA data and records of registered rice retailers in various LGUs.
"Titingnan natin, alin doon ang existing at operational pa (We will see, which among those are still existing operational)," he said.
In the course of validation, they found that retailers in the province have readily followed EO 39, he noted.
"Yung iba sinabi sa atin na wala silang magawa kundi sumunod sa EO natin, maliliit ito na mga rice retailers so ayaw naman nila na mag- magmulta o makulong (Some of them said they could not do anything but follow the EO. They are only small rice retailers and they don't want to pay penalties or be jailed)," Simangan said.
The initial recipients came from 15 towns, including this city, and were validated by the DTI and DSWD, he added.
Andy Osias, president of the group of rice retailers from Gabaldon town, was grateful about the subsidy, saying they were really hurt by the price cap since they have bought well-milled rice for PHP50.
The EO sets the price of regular milled and well-milled rice at PHP41 and PHP45 per kilo, respectively. (PNA)