Leyte Samar Daily Express
TACLOBAN CITY — Governor Rogelio Espina will soon implement the “Bigasan sa Barangay” program throughout the province of Biliran.
In a chance interview recently, Espina told Leyte Samar Daily Express that this program would cover all the 132 villages in Biliran, which will be the first of its kind initiative throughout Eastern Visayas.
Espina said he thought of initiating this project after noticing there were only a few existing buying centers or outlets of low price rice in their province, giving a serious discomfort to his constituents.
“Rice is a basic need of our people and it is but reasonable that they be given easy access to it especially to those with relatively low and affordable prices,” Espina said.
He noticed that people in the different towns in Biliran usually line up, sometimes for hours, just to be able to buy few kilos of cheap or low price rice that the government is selling through the National Food Authority (NFA), which is being distributed by the retailers.
“If we can establish more and enough number of buying centers or outlets especially in every barangay perhaps these people wouldn’t have to spend all their time everyday lining up for that cheap rice and instead be able to perform other productive activities,” Espina said.
According to him, the provincial government of Biliran would be providing the start-up capital for every distributor or retailer in the amount of about P20,000.
But he said this would not be a dole-out because the same amount would be returned to the province so it could also be used for other development purposes.
“I intend this to become a livelihood opportunity also for those who will assume as distributors or retailers of this government rice also that will be sold to the people through the Bigasan sa Barangay,” Espina said.
He said the start-up money is expected to be rolled over by the beneficiary so that the Bigasan sa Barangay would become bigger and be able to stand on its own eventually.
“This program is intended to help the people of Biliran address their need especially on access to basic commodities and at the same time provide livelihood to the needy and interested. This initiative has already got its approval from the President herself,” Espina emphasized.
By LEMUEL PAGLIAWAN