First batch of payouts for Iloilo City on Sept. 13-14, 2023 at the Iloilo City Vice Mayor’s Office and DTI Iloilo Provincial Office.  Key DTI officials, including DTI VI Officer-in-Charge Regional Director Ermelinda Pollentes, Iloilo Provincial Director Ma. Dinda Tamayo, and Consumer Protection Division Chief Grace Benedicto, spearheaded the distribution. They were joined by representatives from other lead implementing agencies DSWD VI Regional Director Carmelo N. Nochete, DA VI Regional Executive Director Dennis Arpia, DILG Iloilo City Director Oscar Lim Jr., and local officials from the Local Government Unit of Iloilo City led by Vice Mayor and OIC Jeffrey Ganzon.

WESTERN VISAYAS — In response to the presidential directives outlined in Executive Order No. 39, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region VI, along with other implementing agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Food Authority (NFA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP), initiated the first round of cash assistance distribution on 13-14 September 2023 through DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (cash assistance for micro rice retailers), which generated 100% turnout rate.

In Iloilo City, the cash assistance distribution started in September 13 at the Iloilo City Vice Mayor’s Office and continued the following day at the DTI Iloilo Provincial Office, ensuring that all verified micro rice retailers in the city will receive a cash assistance of PHP15,000 each. Additional local government units (LGUs) within the Province of Iloilo will also have their respective payouts in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, in Negros Occidental, the distribution of cash assistance took place in the afternoon at the Food Terminal Market of Occidental Negros (FTMON) in Bacolod City.

First batch of payouts for the Province of Negros Occidental held at Food Terminal Market of Occidental Negros (FTMON), Bacolod City on September 13, 2023 with heads of lead implementing agencies such as DTI VI Officer-in-Charge Assistant Regional Director Rachel Nufable, DILG Negros Occidental Provincial Director Teodora Sumagaysay, Bacolod City Administrator Atty. Pacifico Maghari III, DA Assistant Regional Director Engr. Jose Albert Barrogo, and DSWD Assistant Regional Director Arwin Razo, among others.

On September 14 to 15, the remaining provinces in Region 6 successfully conducted their payouts simultaneously, achieving a 100% payout rate and marking the completion of the first round across all provinces within the region. Implementing agencies were able to resolve the challenges faced during the payouts in all six provinces resulting in a 100% turnout rate.

The first batch of payouts for the Province of Aklan was held at the Aklan Trade Hall in Halibo on September 14, 2023 with DTI Aklan Provincial Director Ma. Carmen I. Iturralde, DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program National Project Management Office (SLP NPMO) Project Development Officer Norma Ruth Raymundo, DSWD VI Asst. Regional Director Arwin Razo, Provincial Administrator Atty. Selwyn Ibarreta who represented Gov. Jose Enrique Miraflores, DILG Aklan Provincial Director Dino Punsaran, Department of Agriculture Regional Focal for Region VI Ilyn Belinario, Ms. Iris Gail Lauz of NFA Aklan and Ms. Venus G. Villanueva, Provincial Information Center Manager of Philippine Information Agency Aklan

With this, one of the beneficiaries expressed her gratitude, saying, “This financial assistance I received from the government is a big help. Thank God that I am qualified to become one of the beneficiaries. I am truly thankful. I will use the portion of the fund as capital for purchasing rice, and the rest will offset the losses incurred when I bought rice at higher prices before the implementation of EO 39.”

Key officials in attendance at the payout session for the Province of Antique included Hon. Governor Rhodora Cadiao, DTI Antique OIC Provincial Director Mutya Eusores, Provincial Agriculturist Nicolasito Calawag, Municipal Economic Enterprise Development Officer (MEEDO) Darcy Bungay, DILG Provincial Director John Ace Azarcon, MLGOO Danielle Halang, DTI Antique Consumer Protection Unit Head Arnel Oliveros and DSWD Provincial Team Leader Noli Valenzuela, on September 14, 2023 at MEEDO Conference Room, Funda Dalipe, San Jose, Antique.

The purpose of the cash assistance from the DSWD is to alleviate the losses incurred by retailers who had previously purchased rice at higher prices before the implementation of Executive Order No. 39.

The first payout for the Province of Capiz was graced by Roxas City Mayor Ronnie T. Dadivas, Vice Governor James O. Magbanua, Provincial Administrator Ike Biñas representing Governor Fredenil H. Castro, DTI-Capiz Provincial Director Ken Queenie R. Cuñada, DSWD-VI Assistant Regional Director for Administration Joselito G. Estember, DWSD-VI Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Juliet Besa, DSWD-SLP Capiz Provincial Coordinator Ailyn B. Zerrudo, Capiz Provincial Agriculturist Sylvia Dela Cruz, Philippine Information Agency-Capiz Provincial Manager Alex Lumaque and DA-Agricultural Project Coordinating Officer Engr. Israel B. Barros. at thePaseo del Rio, Teodoro Arcenas Trade Center (TATC), Roxas City, on September 14, 2023

Meanwhile, the DTI is mandated to conduct profiling and verification of target beneficiaries, which was used as the basis for the payout under DSWD’s SLP.

The cash assistance distribution marks the start of a series of payouts for the first batch of beneficiaries and additional disbursements are scheduled by next week in all provinces across Region 6.

The first payout for the Province of Guimaras was held at the Provincial Capitol Covered Gym, San Miguel, Jordan, on September 14, 2023 and was graced by Gov. JC Rahman Nava represented by Mr. Jerry Gaitan, DTI Guimaras OIC-PD Romel Amihan and representatives from  DSWD Guimaras, Provincial Economic Development Office and DILG Guimaras9

“We are actively working to ensure that all qualified rice retailers receive the support they deserve but violators of the price caps will face stern warnings to ensure that our consumers are also treated fairly,” said DTI VI OIC Regional Director Ermelinda Pollentes.

OIC-RD Pollentes is aiming for a complete 100% turnout of succeeding payouts for all target and validated beneficiaries in Region 6 by September 2023. ♦

Date of release: 18 September 2023