AFTER the Cebu Provincial Government launched its program to sell rice at P20 per kilo to indigent individuals, Cebu City now plans a similar initiative.
However, a city official involved in public market operations said this will only be feasible with a sufficient rice supply.
The City Council, through a resolution sponsored by City Councilor Rey Gealon, has requested the City Market Operations Division (MOD) to develop a program to sell rice at P20 per kilo to indigent residents.
This resolution was approved during the regular session on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. The MOD has been given five days to prepare the program and submit it to the council.
MOD head Robert Barquilla, in a message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Dec. 17, welcomed the council’s proposal.
However, Barquilla said several factors need to be considered, one of which is that the market office does not engage in buying rice.
Barquilla said lowering the price of rice could be possible if the City coordinates with the National Food Authority (NFA).
On Dec. 5, the Provincial Government announced a revision to its rice program. Qualified individuals can only purchase a maximum of 2.5 kilos of rice at P20 per kilo per week, a reduction from the previously allowed five kilos. This decision was made just a week after the Capitol launched the Sugbo Merkadong Program, which offers the discounted rice.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia decided to limit the sale due to uncertainties about the NFA’s rice supply for the program. According to previous reports by SunStar Cebu, the NFA has a stockpile of only 3,000 sacks of 50 kilos of rice.
Barquilla said the prices of rice at the Carbon Public Market, the largest public market in Cebu, range from P50 to P59 for special rice. Well-milled rice is priced at P49, while regular-milled rice costs P45.