Bigas na, hindi cash! DSWD to supply 360K bags of rice per month to 4Ps beneficiaries

 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin answers questions during a media interview. PNA Photo by PNA photo by Christine Cudis

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is currently making an approach to prepare to the shift from cash to rice allocation for more than 4 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries.

According to DSWD Undersecretary for Special Concerns Camilo Gudmalin, they need about 360,000 bags of 50 kilograms of rice per month for pilot-testing distribution in selected regions.

“To preclude comparison among beneficiaries, we plan to cover the whole region to these listed provinces. There are about a million 4Ps beneficiaries in these six regions. With a 90-percent compliance rate, about 360,000 bags of 50 kilograms will be needed per month,” Gudmalin said

Senator Cynthia Villar, who authored the amendment of the General Appropriations Act of 2019, said the provinces which will pilot test the rice distribution are Cagayan and Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija, Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Iloilo, and Zamboanga del Sur.

The lady senator proposed the amendment to ease difficulties of the local farmers in transition to the rice tariffication.

In a separate interview according to the Philippine News Agency, Villar said the pilot testing will take place from November to December this year – which will run again in 2020, depending on the success rate.

Gudmalin said that the success rate indicator would be for the palay prices to go back to normal and if there no grievances from the 4P beneficiaries.

He said that while giving cash is obviously a good option, a more urgent matter is needed to be addressed.

Gudmalin added that the beneficiaries have no qualms about the shift from cash to rice as long as “the distribution outlets are near to them”.

“It is easy to distribute and easy to collect. In-kind distribution is difficult to distribute and time-consuming and tedious to collect. However, we need to help local palay farmers. If the government will not buy palay, the farmers will be at the mercy of rice traders,” he explained.

 Source: PNA

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