By Junex Doronio

MANILA — In response to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s directive to set P41 and P45 price ceilings on rice nationwide, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under Secretary Rex Gatchalian has expressed willingness to give up P15,000 financial aid per retailer affected by the price cap as early as mid-September.

On Friday, September 8, Gatchalian said there would be more interventions to help local grain retailers affected by PBBM’s order for a price cap on rice by virtue of Executive Order 39.

“I am sure mayroon pang ibang programa ang gobyerno. Nung isang araw, nabanggit niyo, ‘yung [Department of Trade and Industry] mayroon din silang programa that can do microfinance. Alam ko kasama ‘yan sa mix ng mga interventions na pwede nating gamitin,” Gatchalian bared in a radio interview.

Gatchalian further disclosed that the DSWD is still waiting for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) list of retailers that will receive the government financial aid.

However, the Grain Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (GRCP) lamented that the financial aid is too small and would only cover losses of rice retailers for two to three days.

On the other hand, UP School of Economics assistant professor JC Punongbayan had warned the implementation of a price ceiling will eventually lead to a shortage of rice in the country as demand goes up, while supply comes down.