Rice as­sis­tance

The Freeman - - OPINION -

The Cebu City gov­ern­ment will pro­ceed with a bid­ding in the ef­fort to pur­chase rice in­tended for Angkas and mo­tor­cy­cle-for-hire driv­ers who are now af­fected by the Supreme Court de­ci­sion sus­pend­ing Angkas’ op­er­a­tions na­tion­wide.

Mayor To­mas Os­meña’s ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant, Fran­cisco Fer­nan­dez, said City Hall will uti­lize the P15 mil­lion from the Philip­pine Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Cor­po­ra­tion to pur­chase rice, which will soon be dis­trib­uted to qual­i­fied Angkas and mo­tor­cy­cles-for-hire driv­ers.

This de­vel­op­ment comes after the Na­tional Food Au­thor­ity turned down the city gov­ern­ment’s re­quest to pur­chase at least 10,000 sacks of rice in­tended for driv­ers of Angkas and mo­tor­cy­cles­for-hire. Ac­cord­ing to Ma. Be­len Bar­ban­ida, NFA provin­cial man­ager, rice pur­chases are al­lowed by the agency only dur­ing calami­ties.

At least, the NFA re­jec­tion of City Hall’s re­quest did not stem from the fact that the agency could have found it im­proper that only mo­tor­cy­cle-for-hire and Angkas driv­ers are the ones ben­e­fit­ting from the rice trans­ac­tion.

Still, we do hope the city will push through with the pur­chase of rice. The fund has al­ready been ap­pro­pri­ated. In fact, the Bids and Awards Com­mit­tee has al­ready sched­uled a pub­lic bid­ding for Jan­uary 29, call­ing in­ter­ested bid­ders to sub­mit doc­u­ments to the tech­ni­cal work­ing group for re­view.

But the City Hall should think twice about its de­sire ap­pro­pri­at­ing rice sub­sidy to Angkas and mo­tor­cy­cle-for-hire driv­ers only. It should also con­sider other sec­tors that badly need as­sis­tance from the city gov­ern­ment.

It would be bet­ter if the city will in­clude in the rice as­sis­tance those up­land farm­ers now hav­ing a hard tend­ing to their farms be­cause of the lack of wa­ter sup­ply and fer­til­izer, among oth­ers. And, yes, there are those un­der­paid la­bor­ers in the city who are in dire need of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s at­ten­tion.

Although there’s noth­ing wrong with giv­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion to the cur­rent predica­ment of Angkas and mo­tor­cy­cle-for-hire driv­ers, the city gov­ern­ment should also look into the plight of oth­ers who are now strug­gling to make ends meet.

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