Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday commended the inauguration of Cebu’s Sugbo Merkadong Barato (Cebu’s Thrift Market) program, underscoring its historical significance in offering quality rice at an unprecedented price of P20 per kilo.
During his speech at the program’s launch at Talisay City Hall, Romualdez said the initiative, under the leadership of President Marcos, “signifies a pivotal step towards achieving food security and economic resilience for the nation.”
“This day is truly historic for the Philippines. Today, the Sugbuanons proved that it is not impossible to achieve the dream of having quality rice for P20 per kilo,” he said in Filipino.
Romualdez led the Cash and Rice Distribution (CARD) program in partnership with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian.
The CARD program distributes financial and rice assistance to vulnerable Filipino families through the legislative districts in the country in response to President Marcos’ call for the House to help provide cheaper rice for needy Filipinos.
Romualdez said the achievement of providing quality rice at such a low price demonstrates the determination of the Sugbuanon people to overcome challenges and find innovative solutions to address the impact of global inflation on essential commodities.
“Rather than curse in the dark, people of Cebu chose to rise to the challenge and seek innovative ways to address the high prices of rice and other basic goods brought by global inflation,” he said.
Romualdez thanked the leaders of Cebu province, particularly Gov. Gwen Garcia, for their leadership in implementing innovative solutions.
The model adopted by Cebu in providing rice at P20 per kilo through a subsidy is revolutionary and deserves replication across the country, he said.
“The Cebu provincial government’s initiatives, including the Bugasan sa Kababayen-an sa Barangay, the localization of Kadiwa ng Pangulo, and the groundbreaking Sugbo Merkadong Barato, are all commendable steps towards making food more accessible and affordable,” Romualdez said.
“These programs are not just about providing rice at lower prices; they are about empowering our communities, particularly our women, farmers, fishers, and micro-entrepreneurs.”
Romualdez noted that the Bugasan sa Kababayen-an sa Barangay initiative, empowering women’s organizations with an initial capital of rice sacks, exemplifies a community-driven approach to economic challenges.
On the other hand, he said the localization of Kadiwa ng Pangulo and the Sugbo Merkadong Barato showcase collaborative governance, ensuring affordable basic commodities for all.