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House OKs proposed rice tariff law amendments on 2nd reading

(INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / EDWIN BACASMAS)

MANILA, Philippines — A proposal seeking amendments to Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) has been approved on second reading by the House of Representatives.

During the session on Tuesday, House Bill (HB) No. 10381, which seeks to reinstate some of the National Food Authority (NFA) functions — in a bid to lower rice prices — was approved via viva voce or voice voting.

Under the proposal, the NFA would be given the “authority to oversee and ensure compliance with all pertinent standards and regulations, leveraging its established expertise and nationwide network to uphold the national interest in rice buffer stocking and food security” by placing a new Section 5 in R.A. No. 8178.

R.A. 8178 is the Agricultural Tariffication Act, which was amended by the RTL.

If HB No. 10381 is enacted, the agriculture secretary can likewise, upon the recommendation of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) or Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC), declare a food security emergency due to the following reasons:

  • shortage in the supply of rice
  • sustained increase in the price of rice
  • extraordinary increase in the price of rice

During a food security emergency, the NFA could intervene and sell rice directly by purchasing grains from local farmers, with importation as a last resort.

The House leadership, including Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, believes that the following amendments can lower rice prices by P10 to P15 per kilogram.

The bill, however, is facing opposition in the Senate amid fears by senators that giving back some of NFA’s mandates might lead to corruption anew.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1940488/fwd-breaking-proposed-rice-tariff-law-amendments-okd-in-2nd-reading QR Code

Published Date: May 14, 2024

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