SMALL-SCALE retailers in 13 towns and cities, out of 57 local government units (LGUs) in Cebu province, have so far been profiled in adherence to Executive Order (EO) 39 that was issued by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The 13 LGUs include the cities of Cebu, Bogo and Danao, and the towns of Minglanilla, Consolacion, Moalboal, Compostela, Carmen, Liloan, Sogod, Tabogon, Borbon, and Catmon.
Ines Cajegas, chief Trade Industry Development specialist at the Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Trade and Industry in Cebu Province, said they have not yet completed the profiling of rice retailers from other LGUs in the province.
The profiling is part of the forthcoming cash assistance program designed to support small rice retailers who have been affected by the implementation of EO 39, which mandated a price ceiling for regular milled rice at P41 per kilogram and well-milled rice at P45 per kilogram.
The EO aims to maintain price stability and ensure rice affordability, but it has impacted several rice retailers in the country.
To aid them, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) was directed to provide support.
The social welfare agency is set to give out P15,000 cash aid to qualified rice retailers, while sari-sari store vendors will receive P5,000 financial assistance.
Cagejas said qualified rice retailers will receive government financial assistance on September 14, 2023.
"Our grand payout day is scheduled for September 14," Cajegas confirmed in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Monday, September 11, 2023.
She clarified that the main payout center in Cebu will be at the Carbon Public Market in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City. This will also encompass the distribution to nine other public markets in the city, managed by the Cebu City Market Operations Division.
Compliance with the price cap order is limited to only a few retailers, mainly from Guadalupe Public Market, Carbon Public Market, and T. Padilla Public Market, she added.
Two additional distribution centers in the province will be established at the Consolacion Public Market in northern Cebu and the Minglanilla Public Market in southern Cebu.
On payout day, other provinces in the region will also simultaneously distribute assistance. These locations include Tagbilaran City Public Market in Bohol, Dumaguete Public Market in Negros Oriental, and Siquijor Public Market in Siquijor.
Cajegas said the exact payout venue might change, with final decisions to be made by the DSWD. LGUs will ensure the safety and security of these sites.
She said that since the implementation of EO 39 on September 5, around 353 retailers have been identified, with the majority being registered vendors.
But she said only 105 of the 353 profiled retailers meet the criteria for SLP cash assistance. (KJF)