CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 3, in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the OTHER Department of Agriculture (DA), has released the first batch of cash assistance to 336 rice retailers in Central Luzon.

The cash assistance worth ?15,000 is aimed to help micro rice retailers selling regular and well-milled rice following the issuance of Executive Order No. 39 which set ceiling prices for the said variety of rice.

This initiative aligns with the government's commitment to support micro rice retailers and ensure the availability of affordable rice for consumers.

The provinces of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales held simultaneous granting of payout to beneficiaries in their respective areas on September 14. Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija held their first batch of the grant on Tuesday, September 12.

Nueva Ecija had the highest number of payees with 107 beneficiaries followed by Zambales with 78, and Aurora with 44.

Bataan had 38 payees, Bulacan with 29, Pampanga with 25, and Tarlac with 15 beneficiaries.

Leading the distribution were DTI-3 OIC Regional Director Brigida T. Pili and Department of Agriculture Regional Director Crispulo Bautista Jr.

The officials emphasized the importance of empowering micro rice retailers and stabilizing their businesses in public markets.

“We aim for this payout to aid your businesses, to prevent losses, and to sustain your retailing businesses in public markets so that we can assist our consumers in purchasing affordable rice. This comes at a time when we are anticipating the rice harvest in our municipalities and barangays,” Pili said to the rice retailers in attendance.

The beneficiaries expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the assistance.

They cited the program's support to their businesses and their ability to continue offering affordable rice to the public.

“Maraming salamat po kay President Bongbong Marcos, sa DTI at sa DSWD sa financial assistance na ipinagkaloob nila. Malaking tulong po ito sa amin para makabili pa ng mga bigas na maibebenta naming sa publiko sa abot-kayang presyo,” said rice retailer Christiana Almodovar.

DSWD officials advised payees entitled for the payout to prepare the necessary documents to fast track the release of the financial assistance and to avoid any inconvenience.

Another round of payout will be scheduled, the agencies said.

The DTI-3 said it continues with their monitoring activities to ensure that rice establishments adhere to the mandated price ceilings.