Vulnerable sectors struggle to buy affordable rice at Kadiwa stores

Vulnerable sectors struggle to buy affordable rice at Kadiwa stores

ON the morning of July first, a long line resembling a blockbuster queue formed at the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa store.

Many from the vulnerable sector arrived as early as 6 AM, only to face delays as the Kadiwa store opened late, causing significant inconvenience.

Instead of being able to go to work, they had to be absent as they were forced to wait due to the delayed opening.

‘’It took a long time, it’s crazy. You haven’t even had coffee yet just to go here early to buy rice. It took so long for the store to open. Did you miss work today? Yes, I’m absent now,’’ Delia Aldabe said.

Buying the P29 per kilogram rice requires presenting an ID, mandatory for seniors, Persons with Disabilities or PWDs, 4Ps beneficiaries, and solo parents.

You also need an authorization letter if you are carrying another family member’s ID who cannot personally buy rice.

One senior citizen, traveling from afar for their first rice purchase, lacked the necessary ID requirement.

‘’I thought you could just line up to buy [rice]. I’m annoyed, what’s with the requirements? (jump). When I lined up at Kadiwa in Visayas, they didn’t ask for those, and you could get more than 3 kilos. There was no limit there,’’ Senior Citizen Queued at DA’s Kadiwa Store said.

They ask to be given consideration since they can only buy three kilograms of rice.

‘’I hope we can buy at least five kilos, not just three kilos— because five kilos would be better,’’ Ching Baldosa said.

Another senior citizen, coping with back pain, criticized the process akin to election procedures.

You have to write down your name, provide an ID, and an authorization letter if you’re carrying 2 or 3 IDs.

Your finger or thumb will be marked with ink as proof that you have already bought rice.

‘’It’s like an election. My suggestion is to remove the requirements and start the line early. We are the ones who suffer. Look at this, they have thumb marking (jump). What kind of Kadiwa store is this? This is the government. There shouldn’t be such a process so we, senior citizens, can go home anytime because it only takes a short time. It’s very painful; standing for so long is unbearable,’’ they added.

Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Arnel De Mesa clarified they are ironing out the guidelines for Programming 29, formerly Bigas 29, which will be released this week.

‘’All the experiences during this trial period help the Department evolve and learn, and eventually, all these experiences will inform the best practices for a more effective program,’’ Asec. Arnel De Mesa Spokesperson, DA

He also mentioned that more people, not just those in the vulnerable sectors, will be able to buy affordable rice.

The said program will also allow the purchase of various agricultural commodities—not just rice.

Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Arnel De Mesa assured that measures would be in place to prevent repeated purchases for resale.

‘’We will specify which group can buy where and when. There will be an easier solution for them and a better-accompanying program. This is not just about rice,’’ Asec. Arnel De Mesa said.


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