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DSWD chief thanks local officials in 3 BARMM provinces for warm reception during rice distribution to 3k beneficiaries

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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Monday (Oct. 23) expressed gratitude to all local officials in the three provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) for their warm reception during the rice distribution among beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Secretary Gatchalian and Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Secretary Anton Lagdameo led the distribution of rice to 4Ps beneficiaries in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi and in Jolo, Sulu.

The rice distribution activities were facilitated by Tawi-Tawi Governor Ysmael I. Sali and Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan.

“Thank you Gov. Sali of Tawi-Tawi, and Gov. Tan of Sulu for the warm reception,” Secretary Gatchalian said in his Facebook post.

In his short message, Secretary Gatchalian pointed out that the distribution of rice is part of the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr to prioritize food security and a good supply chain by addressing the issues of hoarding and smuggling.

“Inatasan niya ang Bureau of Customs (BOC) na mag-raid at i-confiscate ang mga bigas na ito para masigurado na maturuan ng leksyon ang mga masasamang loob na namamantala sa sitwasyon,” Sec Gatchalian said in his message in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

(He instructed the Bureau of Customs to conduct a raid and confiscate these rice stocks to ensure that those taking advantage of the situation were taught a lesson.)

The DSWD chief also noted that the rice distributed to 4Ps beneficiaries was part of the more than 42,000 sacks of smuggled rice that was confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Zamboanga City last May, and later donated to the DSWD for distribution.

According to Sec. Gatchalian, the DSWD will continue to conduct distribution activities across the country to ensure that these confiscated goods reach those who need it most, including the 4Ps households.

“Makakaasa ho kayo na ang ating Pangulo ay patuloy na susubaybayan ang presyo ng bigas para masigurado na may murang bigas para sa mga pamilyang Filipino,” the secretary emphasized.

(Rest assured that our President will continue to monitor the price of rice to ensure that there is affordable rice for Filipino families.)

The beneficiaries who each received 25 kilos of premium-quality Jasmine rice comprised of some 3,000 poor households, mostly members 4Ps from the three BARMM provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan.

The DSWD chief and SAP Lagdameo were accompanied by DSWD Undersecretaries Eduardo Punay, Monina Josefina Romualdez and Allan Tanjusay; Asst. Secretary Florentino Loyola Jr.; and DSWD Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula) Asst. Regional Director Ma. Socorro Macaso.

The DSWD team’s first stop was in Bongao, Tawi—Tawi where they were warmly received nu Governor Ysmael Sali and Vice-Governor Al Syed A. Sali.

This was followed by the rice distribution in Jolo, Sulu which was made possible through the kind assistance of Governor Tan.

Later in the day, the DSWD’s Field Office -9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) distributed rice to residents of Lamitan City in Basilan province which was witnessed Governor Jim Hataman, Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Anwary Akalun and DSWD FO-9 representative Ma. Corazon Sumicad.

“The government continues to turn seized smuggled rice into a lifeline for struggling families in line with the directive of President Marcos to Secretary Gatchalian,” DSWD Asst. Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said.

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