MEMBERS of the House of Representatives and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will distribute rice and financial aid to at least 2.5 million Filipinos “within the next two weeks” under the
“Malaya Rice Project,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said on Thursday night.
He told a news conference that the rice distribution is in line with the program of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of trying to bring affordable, quality rice to the people, particularly those in most need.”
The President asked Speaker Romualdez to start the program in Metro Manila.
Pursuant to the President’s instruction, the House leader said the handing out of rice would begin in Metro Manila in partnership with the region’s 33 lawmakers and DSWD Sec. Rex Gatchalian.
Speaker Romualdez said he has asked the 33 House members to identify 10,000 indigent residents who would receive the rice assistance, including senior citizens, solo parents and persons with disability.
Each beneficiary would receive P1,000 and 15 kilos of rice worth P500 to P600, with the process taking “less than a month,” he said.
“And we would like to have this done and replicated in other urban areas. And this will hopefully help alleviate the burden on the people and especially in the non-rice producing areas…And we would like to use this similar mechanism to buy the palay from the rice growers. And this is to afford better prices not just for the consumers, but also for the growers, for the farmers themselves. So we will start this program this October within, I think, within the next two weeks,” he added.
The Speaker pointed out that this month’s rice distribution “will just be the first round.”
“Hindi ito one-shot deal. So this will be part of the program again, hand-in-hand with the DSWD using the AICS (Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation)…And once it is successful, and I’m confident that it will be…we’ll be able to replicate this and do further successive rounds of this,” he stressed.
He described the rice distribution project as a “good” initiative.
“Because as you know, the President has already taken out the caps or the ceilings on the prices [of rice]. So there might be a tendency for it to come up again. We hope that this will stave off the tendency for the prices of rice to come up again because of the widespread distribution of this program within the NCR.
“And we’ll try to do this in other areas like Metro Cebu, Davao, in the big areas, and then further find out throughout the country, even in the rice producing areas, with the intent of buying palay at the right prices so that we make sure that everyone is afforded quality and affordable rice,” he said.
There are more than 250 legislative districts in the country. With an initial target of 10,000 recipients in each district, the program will benefit at least 2.5 million Filipinos in its first round.