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Marikina passes ordinances to assist rice retailers 

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The Marikina City government has enacted three ordinances to help rice retailers in the city whose livelihood has been affected by the price ceiling mandated by the national government, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Mayor Marcelino Teodoro signed on Thursday Ordinance 68, series of 2023, which waives the rental fee for rice retailers at the city's public market; Ordinance 69, series of 2023, which grants them tax relief; and Ordinance 70, series of 2023, which extends cash assistance to them.

Ordinance 68 states that “in consideration of the economic challenges due to the said imposition of a price ceiling, rice retailers who are renting stalls in the Marikina City Public Market, are hereby granted relief through the waiver of rental payments for the months of September and October 2023.”

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“We have repeated what we did during the last pandemic where the small rice sellers in the Marikina Public Market will not pay rent for the next two months until the rice supply and the prices are stable,” Teodoro told the 149 rice dealers who received cash assistance under the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), at the Marikina Convention Center.

The city government, he said, is also ready to extend the implementation of the measure if needed.

Ordinance 69 exempts rice retailers operating in Marikina from paying business taxes on their gross sales or receipts for the third and fourth quarters of this year, while the rice price cap is effective.

Rice retailers eligible for the tax relief are those in the wet markets, public markets, and other areas accessible to the general public, including sari-sari stores that sell rice.

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It noted that the grant of tax relief, however, does not cover supermarkets and convenience stores.

“Marami na siyempre ang nababahala dahil ‘yung iba nating mga kababayan ay nagbabayad ng buwis nila in a quarterly basis, at maaari dahil sa pagkalugi na nararanasan nila dahil sa pagbebenta ng regular at well-milled rice sa mas mababang halaga, maaaring mabawasan ‘yung kita o kaya mawala. At ‘yung pagbabayad ng buwis ay maging problema sa ilan (Many people are, of course, worried because there are those who pay their taxes on a quarterly basis, and it is possible that due to losses incurred from selling regular and well-milled rice at lower prices, their income would be reduced. Thus, the payment of taxes will be a problem for some),” Teodoro said.

Ordinance 70, on the other hand, recognizes that rice retailers are partners in delivering food services to the people,

“To provide immediate financial relief to rice retailers affected by the price ceiling on rice, the City Government of Marikina shall extend cash assistance in the amount of PHP5,000 to each eligible rice retailer,” it reads.

According to the measure, rice retailers in wet markets, public markets, and other areas accessible to the general public, including sari-sari stores that sell rice and operate within Marikina as of the date the ordinance takes effect, are eligible to receive the cash aid.

It noted that the grant of cash assistance does not cover supermarkets and convenience stores.

After the signing of the three ordinances, Teodoro oversaw the distribution of the PHP15,000 financial assistance to eligible rice retailers led by DSWD.

He said the 149 micro and small rice retailers who are eligible and qualified for the DSWD program are registered with the Business Process and Licensing Office (BPLO), while the rest run stores that sell rice after obtaining a Mayor's Permit.

Thankful

Rice retailers Jose Vecilla Zaballer and Eduard Pascual said these measures would greatly help them cope with the rising costs of doing business.

“We want to thank Mayor Teodoro for the waived rental fees for two months. We would deduct this from the rice prices. This is indeed a big help," a teary-eyed Pascual told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

Another retailer, Rommel Golandrina, also thanked the city government for the enactment of these measures.

"We are thankful for the cash assistance and the waived rental fees. We also thank the national government for its quick moves to respond to the needs of small business owners like us," he said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier called on local government units to pass measures to aid rice retailers amid the imposition of a price ceiling on regular milled rice and well-milled rice at PHP41 per kg. and PHP45 per kg., respectively, under Executive Order 39.


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