Cebu News

Capitol launches store selling rice at P20 per kilo

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman
Capitol launches store selling rice at P20 per kilo
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and House Speaker Martin Romualdez (right) lead the launching of “Sugbo Merkadong Barato” at the Talisay City Hall in Cebu on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. Also in photo are Cebu 5th district Representative Duke Frasco, Talisay City Mayor Samsam Gullas and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Terence Calatrava.
Aldo Banaynal

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu provincial government launched yesterday the "Sugbo Merkadong Barato" (SMB), a pop-up store that will be installed in all local government units (LGUs) in Cebu that will sell rice at P20 per kilo for indigent families.

In her speech, Gov. Gwen Garcia said this is a fulfillment of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.'s promise to bring the price of rice to P20 per kilo, to benefit most especially the poorest among the Cebuano people.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who joined the SMB launching, assured Garcia of the national government's support for the program by ensuring a continuing supply of National Food Authority (NFA) rice.

In his message, Romualdez, Marcos' first-degree cousin, said the SMB program should be the template for the LGUs in the country to follow.

Garcia, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony "Samsam" Gullas, and Cebu lawmakers welcomed Romualdez to the province-wide launching held at the Talisay City Hall grounds.

“This is all a collaborative effort, a synergy of several sectors that have only one goal in mind, and that is to help those that need help the most," Garcia said in her speech.

The program, aimed at supporting the Marcos administration’s food accessibility and sustainability efforts, "focuses on providing affordable NFA rice at P20 per kilo and other basic goods at a lower prices."

This brings the P20 per kilo NFA rice closer to and makes essential goods more accessible to the Cebuanos who belong to the poorest among the poor.

Aside from cheaper rice, farm and sea products as well as processed goods by Cebu's micro and small entrepreneurs are also available at all SMBs.

After the launching, SMBs would also be established in all 44 LGUs under Cebu Province.

“Let this be a challenge to all Cebuanos. You pride yourself in being recognized as the number one province in the entire country and the richest province in the entire country. The Provincial Government is doing its best that it can to support the President that we cast our votes for," the governor said.

"It is incumbent upon us — upon each and everyone of us — to help our President, to help our National Government. Ask not what your country, the Philippines, can do, but rather ask what you can do for the Philippines and for our beloved President Bongbong Marcos," she added.

Romualdez, who represented Marcos during the occasion, also lauded the Capitol's "landmark achievement" of selling rice at P20 per kilo.

“Marami ang nagsasabi na imposible yan (P20 per kilo rice), but as Cebu has done, as it did many times in the past, it has made dreams a reality. And you governor and all of you congressmen, board members, and the mayors, you have made this dream possible," he said.

“I always look at Cebu as a standard — a very high standard, a gold standard — for always achieving a higher bar of performance and efficiency," he added.

Romualdez likewise cited Cebu's other pioneering efforts in various programs, like the "Bigasan sa mga Kababayen-an" and "Kadiwa nang Pangulo" that sells cheaper goods.

Other LGUs in the province also joined in the simultaneous launching of SMB yesterday, like the municipalities of Alcoy, Argao, Barili, Boljoon, Borbon, Cordova, Dumanjug, Madridejos, Minglanilla, and Ronda; and the cities of Bogo and Naga.

According to Sugbo News, the official Facebook page of the provincial government, the program's emphasis on collaboration with local producers and farmers underscores its commitment to supporting the local economy.

By sourcing goods locally, it said, SMB not only provides affordable options to consumers but also boosts the livelihoods of farmers and businesses in the province.

Aside from NFA, SMB also has the support of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, and private firm San Miguel Foods, Inc.

“Salamat, Governor Gwen Garcia sa kanunay nga pag-atiman sa mga panginahanglanon sa mga Sugboanon, apil na ang mga Minglanillahanons. Makapalit na gyud intawn ang atong mga kahigsuonan sa barato nga mga palitonon,” said Minglanilla Mayor Rajiv Enad, in a Facebook post.

Cordova Mayor Cesar "Didoy" Suan, on the other hand, urged his constituents to avail of the rice and the agricultural products available in the SMB.

"Gi-awhag namo ang mga taga Cordova nga mobisita diri sa atong Municipal grounds from 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m. Adunay mga baligya nga isda, chorizo, longganisa, buwad, preskong mga utanon, prutas, ug mga lagutmon,” Suan said. — (FREEMAN)

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