Funding Allocation for Rice Discount Vouchers Program Greenlighted in the Philippines


Both branches of the Philippine Congress approved the funding allocation for rice discount vouchers for the poor in next year’s 5.768 trillion PHP national budget. The discount voucher system, a state food subsidy, allows the indigent population to afford quality rice.

It is set to benefit 28 million Filipinos through monthly rice subsidies.

The approval was made during the bicameral committee conference budget hearings. The move aligns with President Marcos’ push to reduce rice prices, especially for poor Filipinos.

According to Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the initiative represents a “recalibration” of the Cash and Rice Distribution (CARD) program. The budget allocation transforms it into a rice discount voucher program to ensure sustainability and affordability for more families.

The program, named Bagong Pilipinas Community Assistance and Rice Discount (BP-CARD) will provide discount vouchers to low-income families. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will define the income threshold to be considered “low-income.” According to August 2022 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), around 19.99 million Filipinos live below the poverty threshold of about 12,030 per month for a family of five.

Every eligible family will be allowed to purchase 25 kilograms of discounted, affordable, high-quality rice per month.

The DSWD will be the key implementing agency, responsible for formulating rules and regulations regarding the program. Any additional rules will also come from the DSWD. The program will be put into action through the DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS).

The BP-CARD program kicks in from January 2024.