THE SANTISSIMO Rosario Parish has launched its own “Bigasan ng Parokya” in response to the Archdiocese of Manila’s move to cushion the impact of the on-going rice crisis, which is expected to last five more years.

The parish-wide program caters to needy families from five barangay zones in Sampaloc district – zones 41, 44, 45, 46, and 47.

UST parish priest Fr. Jaime Alamillo, O.P., said that Santissimo Rosario has enough weekly supply of rice to meet the demands from the five zones.

“Santissimo Rosario Parish is supplied 40 sacks of rice per week but the rice is sold at the same price in rice outlets,” Alamillo told the Varsitarian.

Rice sold at outlets authorized by the state-run National Food Authority (NFA) are sold at a subsidized price of P18 and P25 per kilogram. But unlike the parish, only 21 sacks of rice are supplied to these stores by the NFA per week.

To ensure that poor families get to be prioritized by the subsidy, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has given them Family Access Card system.

“Although everyone could get rice products, cardholders have the advantage,” Alamillo said. “For cardholders, the process is quick.”

However, authorities recently warned distributors about fake cards, which could be used to obtain rice products.

Caritas Manila for its part has coordinated with the DSWD to weed out buyers with bogus Family Access Cards. The DSWD has also ordered local officials to verify their lists to remove dead recipients and residents who have already changed addresses, whose accounts may be used illegally.

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The Department of Agriculture authorized the Church to distribute rice last April after reports of theft and fraud in NFA-authorized outlets.

Cooperation

Other than rice, poor families can also avail themselves of medical services in their respective parishes using the same card.

“The government and society should protect the poor, especially those from the agricultural sector,” Alamillo told the Varsitarian.

Caritas Manila Director Fr. Anton Pascual is negotiating with San Miguel Corp., Unilever Philippines and other companies to acquire basic goods like cooking oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, noodles, soap, among others, at lower prices.

“We want to sell necessities for 20 to 30 percent lower than the market prices,” Pascual said in an interview. “We want to make consumer goods available to the ultra and moderate poor.” R.G. Padilla

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