By Zaldy De Layola
MANILA – As part of the government’s efforts to ensure sufficient food supply among poor households, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Monday distributed 3,000 sacks of “premium-quality” rice to poor households in three Bulacan towns.
DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian said the rice distribution in the towns of Calumpit, Paombong and Obando is in line with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to provide rice and other food assistance to the “poorest of the poor”.
“Una, pinararating ng ating Pangulo, ang kanyang assurance o pagsisigurado na meron tayong sapat na bigas, mura at accessible sa lahat ng tao (The President is emphasizing his assurance or guarantee that we have enough rice that is affordable and accessible to everyone),” Gatchalian told the recipients.
Gatchalian said the Marcos administration exerts efforts to ensure food security and a good supply chain by addressing the issues of hoarding and smuggling.
“Puspusan ang galaw ng gobyerno para mahanap itong mga hoarders na ito at kino-confiscate yung mga bigas na kanilang hino-hoard (The government is intensifying its efforts to identify these hoarders and confiscate the smuggled rice from these individuals),” he said.
He said the distributed sacks of rice are part of the more than 42,000 sacks of rice that were confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Zamboanga City last May.
“Patuloy na hahanapin itong mga hoarders na ito at kukunin ang mga bigas na kanilang hino-hoard at ibibigay sa ating mga 4Ps beneficiaries (These hoarders will be sought after, and the rice they are hoarding will be taken and given to our 4Ps beneficiaries),” he said.
The recipients, mostly beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), received a 25-kilo sack of Jasmine rice each.
Assisting the DSWD chief in the rice distribution were Assistant Secretary for Regional Operations Paul Ledesma, Field Office 3 (Central Luzon) Regional Director Venus Rebuldela, FO-3 Assistant Regional Director for Operations Armont Pecina, and the local chief executives of the concerned local government units (LGUs).
The DSWD has so far distributed a total of 23,665 bags of rice to various parts of the country such as Roxas City; San Jose de Buenavista in Antique; Kalibo in Aklan; Tungawan in Zamboanga Sibugay; Zamboanga City; General Trias in Cavite; Iriga City in Camarines Sur; Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte; Dinagat Islands; and the cities of Taguig and Manila in the National Capital Region.
Gatchalian said the Marcos administration will continue around the country in the coming days to complete the distribution of rice to the needy and vulnerable sectors. (PNA)