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Sale of rice for P20 suspended in Cebu

DUE to discrepancies in the list of beneficiaries, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has suspended the selling of rice sourced from the National Food Authority for P20 per kilo.

This is to allow for corrections to be made in the final list of deserving recipients, after local governments submitted lists that, combined, exceeded by a whopping 100,000 the number of household beneficiaries in the list provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, the Cebu Provincial Government launched the “Sugbo Merkadong Barato” or SMB program in Talisay City. One of the highlights of the event was also the launching of the sale of NFA rice for P20 a kilo, in consonance with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s 2022 campaign promise.

SMB was simultaneously launched in every town and city under Cebu Province.

However, the subsidized rice will be available only to indigents or poor families under the Listahanan 3 that were earlier identified by the local government units’ (LGU) social workers

In a press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 29, Garcia said the selling of the NFA rice was halted a day after the launching as the submitted lists of recipients did not match and the figures were more than those in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) from the DSWD.

The NHTS-PR, commonly known as Listahanan, is DSWD’s information management system that identifies who and where the poor are nationwide.

Thousands more

“I will not mention which LGU, but there’s one LGU where the DSWD identified 6,000. But the list [that] reached us was 9,000. That’s arguable, I think, but I am bound by the NHTS-PR,” Garcia said.

That list has to be corrected and match the data from DSWD, the official added.

Once the list is corrected, a new batch of QR-coded cards will be given anew to the deserving recipients and the selling of the NFA rice may resume, Garcia said.

“We are resuming possibly by next week. We sent out an advisory yesterday (Nov. 28) to the mayors to suspend the selling until we shall have counterchecked and revalidated (the list),” Garcia said.

Each poor household with the QR-coded ID card can avail itself of the P20/kilo NFA rice, up to a maximum of only five kilos a week at the SMB venue of their respective towns and cities.

Due to limited supply of the NFA rice, which was harvested from rice farms in Luzon and Western Visayas, Garcia said this has to be distributed to the deserving beneficiaries.

“There are poor people, but the poorest ones first, because the supply is limited,” Garcia said.

As of Wednesday, Capitol’s list of recipients had reached more than 303,000 poor households; however, DSWD’s list contains only 199,000 poor households.

The list of the Provincial Government contains names that were submitted by the local social welfare officer of each municipality and city under the Province.

Garcia said there was no problem with the lists overlapping with the DSWD’s data, as these households were still subject to the evaluation of the officers. However, this must be limited at the moment due to the limited supply of NFA rice.

Therefore, she talked with House Speaker Martin Romualdez, who was a guest at the launching of the program, on how to optimize the supply of NFA rice for the program.

Absorb losses

Garcia said the Provincial Government has allocated P100 million for the purchase of 80,000 bags of NFA rice, and another P100 million for the purchase of commercial rice that will be sold at lower prices simultaneously.

She said each bag of NFA rice costs P1,250, or P25 per kilo.

The Province absorbs the loss of P5 loss for every kilo of NFA rice sold to the selected beneficiaries, which amounts to an initial loss of P20 million from the P100 million budget.

However, this can be another form of assistance to indigent constituents to enable them to afford rice despite the rising cost of basic commodities and stop the mendicancy mentality, Garcia said.

She added that the Provincial Government will recoup its losses through other income-generating programs and projects of the province, which she did not specify.

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/sale-of-rice-for-p20-suspended-in-cebu QR Code

Published Date: December 1, 2023

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