Enact laws for rice dealers, LGUs told

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos on Wednesday urged local government units, particularly the councilors, to pass measures to help the rice dealers in their localities.

During the Metro Manila Councilors League's 35th anniversary celebration in Pasay City, Abalos enjoined the councilors to enact ordinances to help rice retailers by temporarily suspending the collection of market stall fees or granting discounts to alleviate the effects of the rice price ceiling.

"(You might pass ordinances) to empower the mayors (to give discounts to stall holders who are) rice retailers (or not charge them for the) stalls for a month," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mandaluyong City is one of the first local government units to pass an ordinance to help rice retailers by suspending the assessment and collection of market stall fees in Public Markets 1 and 2 from 5 September to 5 October.

Earlier, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. authorized the payout of P5,000 to P15,000 each to unregistered small rice retailers and sari-sari store owners selling rice who were affected by the mandated price cap on rice.

Meanwhile, Abalos encouraged the MMCL to strengthen public order and safety in the metropolis through the implementation of a unified
closed-circuit television system and other technological advancements to fight crime.

He said a unified approach to fighting crime can lead to improved investments and progress.

"Development is synonymous with peace and order. (If the) peace and order (is bad, it will be hard to get) investments," he said.

For her part, MMCL president and Caloocan City Councilor Carolyn Cunanan said, "As president of MMCL, rest assured we will continue to achieve our vision of a united Metro Manila, united in terms of services and legislative excellence for our constituents."

Marikina distributes aid
Meanwhile, Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo on Wednesday led the distribution of cash assistance to more than 400 small rice retailers in the city.

The distribution of cash grants followed the imposition of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of a price cap on rice through Executive Order 39.
This was the first batch of Marikina rice retailers to receive the benefit, Quimbo said.

The lawmaker thanked President Marcos for his quick response in addressing the rice crisis in the country.

With Neil Alcober

Daily Tribune