May 24, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Romualdez earmarks P2 billion to aid rice retailers impacted by price ceiling

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has instructed the House Committee on Appropriations to find ways to allocate P2 billion to assist retailers affected by the rice price ceiling imposed by Malacañang last Friday.

The Speaker emphasized the importance of this directive by personally instructing Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Elizaldy “Zaldy” Co, the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, to immediately coordinate with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the swift allocation of P2 billion to support the rice retailers.

“Our goal is to ensure that we can extend assistance to rice retailers who may be affected by this rice price ceiling, as it is a directive from our President aimed at protecting consumers,” Speaker Romualdez emphasized.

Co, on his part, wasted no time and promptly coordinated with the DBM under Secretary Amenah Pangandaman to swiftly explore avenues for the allocation of the specified amount.

“We will promptly engage with the DBM to expedite the release of the P2 billion funds for our rice retailers,” Co assured.

Speaker Romualdez, who leads the 311-member House of Representatives, emphasized that this initiative underscores Congress’s unwavering commitment to fortifying and bolstering the resilience of essential food supply chains.

The Speaker had earlier disclosed his plans to also engage with leaders of rice retailers nationwide later this week to hear their concerns regarding potential financial losses stemming from the rice price ceiling.

“The government is not insensitive, so we want to listen to their concerns, and we will try to find a solution to address their fears of incurring losses,” the Speaker said.

“We are aware that they have high costs from traders, but our priority is the public’s difficulty in buying rice,” he added.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. had issued Executive Order No. 39, setting prices at P41.00 per kilo for regular milled rice and P45.00 for well-milled rice starting September 5. This action was prompted by government intelligence indicating that certain unscrupulous traders planned to hike rice prices to as high as P70.00 per kilo.

Speaker Romualdez compared this situation to what occurred with onion prices when onion cartels raised them to P800.00 per kilo.

“Naturally, the President had to act swiftly to counter this ill-intentioned plan by a select few,” emphasized Speaker Romualdez.

Retailers, however, expressed their dissatisfaction, noting that they procure rice from traders for nearly P50.00 per kilo.

“But rest assured, the government is committed to supporting our retailers affected by this Executive Order,” affirmed the Speaker.