TACLOBAN CITY – The municipality of Biliran in Biliran province has been selling rice at P20 per kilogram, targeting its poorest households.

Andrew Rodolfo Orais, the executive regional director of the Department of Agriculture (DA), confirmed that their office is helping the municipality sustain the program, which began last year.

As part of their interventions, the DA provides free sacks of palay seeds to local farmers. In return, the farmers sell a portion of their rice harvest at P20 per kilogram, aligning with the Marcos administration’s promise to sell rice at this price, according to Orais.

“The target beneficiaries are allowed to buy five kilograms of rice per week at P20 per kilogram. By implementing this program, the municipal government of Biliran is helping their indigents and fulfilling the President’s promise to sell rice at P20 per kilo,” Orais said during a media interview, referring to the campaign promise of the President.

It was learned that the P20 per kilogram of rice is sold at the town’s Kadiwa Center and in barangays with identified outlets.

Rufel Gula, DA-8 rice program focal person, said that farmers belonging to 11 rice farmers groups had entered an agreement with the municipal government to implement this rice assistance program.

Part of the agreement stipulates that those entitled to buy five kilograms of rice at P20/kg weekly are considered the poorest of the poor, such as senior citizens without a steady income.

These individuals must be residents of the town and will be issued discount voucher cards by the municipal government.

“What is good about this rice subsidy program in Biliran is that the farmers help in identifying who can buy the rice at P20/kg, which is beneficial because they know who the poorest are in their respective barangays,” Gula said.

Gula noted that the town of Biliran has about 700 hectares of land devoted to rice farming, with an average harvest of five tons per hectare.

“We hope this can be sustained by the local government of Biliran,” she added.
Orais expressed hope that other government units in the region will adopt similar programs, noting that so far, only the town of Biliran has consistently sold rice at P20 per kilogram.

“They started this rice subsidy program last year, and we hope other local government units will follow. We heard that the provincial government of Biliran will also implement the same,” he said.