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June 2024

House leaders back Palace’s move to cut imported rice tariff

By Zaldy De Layola

MANILA – Speaker Martin Romualdez and other House leaders on Wednesday lauded the decision of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to cut the tariff for imported rice from 35 percent to just 15 percent.

“The import levy reduction and the direct sale of imported rice by the government through its Kadiwa centers should bring down the retail price of rice substantially, especially for consumers,” Romualdez said in a news release.

He said the effort to reduce rice prices is consistent with the Marcos administration’s goal of making the staple available and affordable.

Romualdez said rice farmers should not worry about the assistance they receive from the government, which is funded by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund set up under Republic Act No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law.

He added that official data showed that as of last month, the fund had accumulated PHP16 billion from import tariff collections.

“This means that the government has enough funds to help farmers, while it is trying to bring down rice prices through the import tariff cut and direct Kadiwa sales,” he said.

He said the House’s advocacy of returning the rice importation mandate of the National Food Authority is also meant to make the staple affordable.

Other House leaders who supported the rice tariff cut include House Assistant Majority Leader and Zambales 1st District Rep. Jay Khonghun, Deputy Majority Leader and PBA Party-list Rep. Margarita “Atty. Migs” Nograles and Assistant Majority Leader and La Union 1st District Rep. Francisco Paolo Ortega V and House Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman.

Khonghun described the President’s decision as “a much-needed relief for our countrymen.”

“It is a clear indication of his administration’s focus on making essential commodities affordable and accessible to all Filipinos. This move will help stabilize rice prices and prevent any potential supply issues,” Khonghun said.

Nograles said lowering the rice tariff is a decisive action that will benefit millions of Filipino households.

“This policy will provide immediate financial relief to families struggling with high food costs and contribute to overall economic stability,” he said.

Ortega said the reduction of rice tariffs is a proactive measure that will have a positive impact on both consumers and the agricultural sector.

“By lowering the cost of rice, we are ensuring that every Filipino has access to this staple food at a reasonable price. This is a step in the right direction towards achieving food security,” Ortega said.

Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Cheeno Miguel Almario called the President’s decision “a timely and necessary intervention.”

“It reflects his administration’s dedication to improving the lives of ordinary Filipinos. This policy will help mitigate the effects of inflation and ensure that rice remains affordable for everyone,” he added.

For his part, House Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman said the reduced tariff aims to reduce the price of rice in the market.

“For me, rice is supposed to be somewhat of a great equalizer. This is a Filipino staple,” he said.

The board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), chaired by President Marcos, has approved cutting the tariff to bring down the price of rice to PHP29 a kilo. (PNA) QR Code

Published Date: June 5, 2024

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