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July 2024

Farmers’ groups take rice tariff cut to SC today

A worker arranges sacks of rice at a local rice store in Quezon City on October 4, 2023.

MANILA, Philippines — Farmers’ groups will troop to the Supreme Court (SC) today to seek a halt to the implementation of Executive Order 62 on the 15 percent reduced tariff on imported rice, expected to take effect on July 6.

Former agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor criticized the hasty publication of EO 62 after farmers’ organizations discovered that the 463-page order was published a day after it was signed on June 20, 2024.

Montemayor added that a petition for certiorari and prohibition together with a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against EO 62 would be filed before the SC.

“Let us protect and be on the side of our rice farmers, corn growers, hog producers and poultry raisers. Let us defend and support local agriculture,” he implored.

Montemayor said the petitioners include Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, Federation of Free Farmers, United Broiler Raisers Association, Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative and Philippine Maize Federation Inc.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. has warned of the possible shortage in supply of the grains if a 60-day TRO is issued against EO 62.

Montemayor said the farmers should not be blamed for the decision of importers not to bring in rice while waiting for the implementation of EO 62.

SINAG chair Rosendo So said the farmgate price of palay in Pampanga, Nueva Vizcaya and Pangasinan has decreased to P18-19 following the announcement on imported rice tariff cuts.

SINAG legal counsel Virgie Suarez added that the National Economic and Development Authority and the Tariff Commission failed to conduct consultations among the affected farmer groups, making it their basis for filing an injunction.

Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin signed EO 62 by the authority of the President on June 20. It modified the nomenclature and rates of import duty on various products, including rice for 2024 to 2028.

Rice at P40 per kilo

Meanwhile, Speaker Martin Romualdez is looking at the prices of rice to go down to around P40 per kilo before President Marcos delivers his third State of the Nation Address on July 22.

This, he said, is due to various programs of the President to ensure the country’s rice sufficiency and welfare of Filipino farmers, including the Rice Tariffication Law and Presidential Assistance to Farmers and Fisherfolk.

Romualdez clarified that the administration has not given up on the President’s promise to bring down the price of rice to P20 per kilo and make the country rice sufficient. QR Code

Published Date: July 5, 2024

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