The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has distributed PHP15,000 cash assistance to 63 small rice retailers in Eastern Visayas badly affected by the price cap set by the government. DSWD regional information officer Jonalyndie Chua said Friday these retailers were just the initial recipients of the DSWD's Sustainable Livelihood Program - Economic Relief Subsidy (SLP-ERS), and validation is still ongoing for others who would want to avail of the subsidy. 'The number of recipients is just initial. Some have been identified but need to present some documents before the release. We are also still waiting for the certified list of more rice retailers from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry,' Chua said in a phone interview. On the first day of SLP-ERS release on Sept. 13 at the DSWD regional office in Palo, Leyte, at least 35 small rice retailers from different parts of the region received the assistance. Some 28 retailers from Samar province got the assistance during the distribution in Motiong town, Calbayog City, and Catbalogan City on Sept. 14. 'Monitoring will be done on beneficiaries to ensure that the subsidy is used according to its purpose,' Chua added. Executive Order 39, signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and issued on Aug. 31, directed rice retailers to sell well-milled rice at PHP45 and regular-milled rice at PHP41. President Marcos directed DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian to use the department's Sustainable Livelihood Program in anticipation of small rice retailers' losses from the temporary price cap. The directive aims to address rising food costs and impose penalties on individuals involved in hoarding in response to reports of extensive instances of unlawful price manipulation

Source: Philippines News Agency

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