DTI appeals to DSWD for broader financial assistance to micro rice retailers

DTI Urges DSWD to Extend Cash Aid Distribution to Micro Rice Retailers Affected by Price Cap

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is calling on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to extend its cash aid distribution to micro rice retailers who were not included in the initial list of beneficiaries. These rice retailers have been affected by the nationwide rice price cap.

The DTI recently closed the submission of lists of micro rice retailer beneficiaries on September 23, while the DSWD is set to conclude its cash aid distribution on Friday, September 29. DTI Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) Director Fhilip Sawali expressed his appeal to the DSWD to consider providing these individuals with the P15,000 cash assistance through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), as long as they meet the program’s requirements.

Sawali emphasized that he wants those who were not included in the initial list to have another chance to benefit from the cash aid. He believes that the DSWD can continue to support these individuals under the SLP program, albeit in a different modality, as long as they meet the necessary criteria and requirements.

Based on a consolidated report as of September 19, the DSWD has already released a total of P68.94 million worth of cash aid to its SLP beneficiaries and micro rice retailers affected by the price cap nationwide.

Sawali also reported that compliance among micro and small rice retailers has improved. As of September 19, the compliance rate stood at 87.5 percent, compared to the initial rate of 56.22 percent on September 5. The remaining 12.5 percent are still not complying with the price cap of P41 per kilo for regular-milled rice (RMR) and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice (WMR).

In the National Capital Region (NCR), the compliance rate was also high at 85.71 percent as of September 22, according to data processed by the Consumer Policy Advocacy Group (CPAG).

DTI holds the official lists of cash aid recipients, while the DSWD manages the distribution under its SLP program. Sawali expressed his gratitude to the micro rice retailers who consistently comply with the price ceiling, as well as to agency partners like the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the DSWD for their cooperation. He also acknowledged all other stakeholders who have been part of the distribution system.

To ensure ongoing compliance, the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau, along with DTI regional offices, is monitoring, reminding, and issuing warnings to non-compliant rice retailers. Sawali stated that as long as rice is being sold within the price cap, the DTI sees no need to resort to strict enforcement measures. Reports on violations or alleged infractions against the price cap are documented, and the Department of Agriculture (DA) is responsible for addressing formal complaints and reported violations of the Price Act.

In addition, the DTI and DA are conducting daily monitoring to ensure consistent compliance among rice retailers, even after they have received cash assistance. By checking the markets, they can determine if retailers are still adhering to the price cap.

Recipients of the cash aid also sign an undertaking, stating that they are affected by Executive Order No. 39 (EO 39) and that they will continue to follow the price caps outlined in the order.

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