SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, his colleagues, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Sunday launched a groundbreaking program to distribute financial and rice assistance to poor and vulnerable Filipino families through legislative districts in Metro Manila and two cities in Laguna.
This is in response to the challenge of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. for Speaker Romualdez to create a program that will give rice aid to the poor.
Dubbed as the Cash and Rice Distribution (CARD) Program, the project is being undertaken in collaboration with the bigger legislative chamber under Speaker Romualdez and the DSWD led by Sec. Rex Gatchalian.
“Makasaysayan po ang araw na ito, hindi lamang dito sa Laguna kundi maging sa buong Metro Manila. Ngayong umaga, pormal nating sisimulan ang pinakabagong programa ng ating pamahalaan — ang Cash Assistance and Rice Distribution o CARD program,” Speaker Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives, said during the introduction of the program in Biñan City, Laguna that coincided with the launching of President Marcos’ Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair (BPSF) in Laguna following its successful launch in Biliran, Davao de Oro, Leyte, Camarines Sur, and Ilocos Norte.
“Nabuo ang programang ito bilang sagot sa hamon ng ating Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. sa Kongreso na tumulong kung paano mabibigyan ng mura at magandang klase ng bigas ang ating mga komunidad,” he added.
The CARD Program was launched in Metro Manila’s 33 legislative districts with each having 10,000 poor and vulnerable beneficiaries for a total of 330,000 recipients, the distribution of which will be divided into four payouts.
Alongside the launch in NCR is the distribution in Biñan City (3,000 beneficiaries) and Sta. Rosa City (2,000 beneficiaries), for a total of 335,000 beneficiaries for the launch.
The amount of assistance for each beneficiary – which will also include senior citizens, PWDs, solo parents and IPs – totals at least P2,000: P950 for the 25-kilogram sack of rice at P38 per kilo and the remaining in cash to buy other food essentials.
The DSWD is tasked to identify the beneficiaries and may increase the amount of assistance in some some areas depending on its evaluation of the prevailing circumstances.
“Alam natin na buong mundo ang nahihirapan sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin dahil sa global inflation na dala ng mga digmaan sa Middle East. Dahil dito, hindi ganun kadali para sa pamahalaan na mapapababa ang presyo ng bigas dito sa atin sa Pilipinas,” Speaker Romualdez said.
“Gayunpaman sinikap nating humanap ng paraan kung paano makakatulong para mapagaan ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan sa harap ng pagtaas ng presyo ng bigas at iba pang bilihin. Target po natin na mabigyan ang 10,000 benepisyaryo sa bawat distrito,” he continued.
Romualdez said that like President Marcos’ BPSF – a program that brings directly to the people over a hundred government services – that will be implemented nationwide, the CARD program will also go beyond Metro Manila to include the rest of the 250 congressional districts in the Philippines.
At 10,000 beneficiaries per district, the total recipients will be 2.5 million indigent and vulnerable Filipinos.
“Layunin po natin na palawakin ang programang ito hindi lamang sa buong Luzon kundi sa lahat ng panig ng bansa. Uunahin lamang natin ang mga siyudad maging sa Visayas at Mindanao kung saan mayroong kakulangan sa suplay ng mura at de-kalidad na bigas,” Romualdez explained.
“Simula pa lamang ito ng patuloy na pagbibigay natin ng ginhawa sa ating mga mamayan. Asahan ninyo na laging katuwang ninyo at ng ating Pangulong Marcos ang Office of the Speaker at ang buong kasapian ng House of Representatives para masigurong may sapat na pondo ang lahat ng programang laan para sa ordinaryong PIlipino,” he said.
He further noted that the program was conceived in light of escalating rice prices and the subsequent challenges faced by Filipino consumers, empowering them to gain access to rice at better prices and augment their buying capacity.
It also serves as a countermeasure against those holding large rice stocks and those involved in price manipulation.
Romualdez, one of the principal organizers of BPSF, also reiterated that the government is committed to bring more than 60 government services closer to the people by visiting all 82 provinces.
“The Serbisyo Fair truly breathed life into the aspirations of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Romualdez Marcos Jr. to bring so many
government programs within the reach of people who may not have the
means to avail of these benefits,” Romualdez reiterated.
The Grand Launch of the BPSF in the town of Nabua in Camarines Sur was led by President Marcos himself and launched simultaneously in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Tolosa town in Leyte in Visayas, and in the Municipality of Monkayo, Davao de Oro in Mindanao.
The program was expected to initially benefit 400,00 plus Filipinos seeking to avail more than 60 services offered by various government agencies with a fund of at least P1 billion.
The BPSF national secretariat comprises the Office of the President,
the Office of the Speaker, the Presidential Communications Office
(PCO), and the House of Representatives.
The beneficiaries had easy access to government projects and programs in the areas of social services, health and medical support, livelihood, and educational assistance, services in regulatory functions, and other bureaucratic services aimed to capacitate and benefit them.
Under social services, the Department of Health (DoH), Department of
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Food Authority (NFA), Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) participated.
Under livelihood and educational services, the following agencies
offered services: Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Commission on
Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), DENR, OCD, and FDA.
Under regulatory functions, the BPSF extended services from the
following government agencies: Department of Foreign Affairs,
Philippine National Police (PNP), Land Transportation Office (LTO),
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Bureau (LTFRB),
Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Other government services include those from the Department of
Information and Communication Technology (DICT), Government Service
Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG,
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), and the Integrated Bar of the
Among the major social services offered by the BPSF include:
• Enrollment in TUPAD or GIP
• Legal counseling
• Distribution of farm inputs and machinery
• Tulong Dunong Program
• TESDA scholarships and program enrollment
• Financial assistance programs
• Kadiwa Stores
• SB Corp. services for MSMEs
• Educational assistance
• LTO driver’s license renewal
• DFA passport application
• NBI clearance application
• Police clearance application
• LTOPF renewal/application
• PSA birth certificate application
• Pag-IBIG membership and housing loan
• SSS membership application
• GSIS UMID application
• Postal ID application
• National ID application
• PhilHealth consultation
• Public service training
• PRC renewal
• PAO free legal services
• PhilHealth registration. (