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July 2024

Stakeholders say rice down to P46/kilo in July due to tariff savings

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu

Rice vendor Eddie Pascual, 58, waits for his usual clients at his rice stall in Marikina Public Market on Monday, June 10, 2024. The NEDA board has agreed to cut tariff on rice to 15 percent from 35 percent to help bring down the price of rice to P29 a kilo. Pascual expressed his reservation that the move will lower the price of rice per kilo. INQUIRER / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — Rice stakeholders have given an assurance that market prices can go down to P45 to P46 per kilogram by July due to savings from lower tariff rates, House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Monday.

In a briefing in Makati City, Romualdez said they were able to secure the commitment of Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement (Prism) officials to pass on the savings brought by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Executive Order (EO) No. 62 to consumers.

EO No. 62 decreases the tariff on different basic commodities including rice, from 35 percent to 15 percent. Government agencies and officials predict the reduced levy would ease the upward pressure on rice prices.

“‘Yong hangarin ng ating Presidente na maibigay ng, ano, na quality rice, na magandang, mahusay na klase ng bigas sa kada Pilipino sa presyong abot kaya, nandito na po. ‘Yong target natin by itong buwan ng Hulyo, itong July, magkakaroon tayo ng bigas at P45 to P46 kada kilo,” Romualdez said.

(The goal of our President is to give quality rice, a good brand of rice with an affordable price is here. Our target is that by this month of July, we will have rice at P45 to P46 per kilogram.)

“And this is through concerted efforts and the direction of our President to the DA (Department of Agriculture), to the NFA (National Food Authority), to the NIA (National Irrigation Administration), and of course our stakeholders like PRISM,” he added.

Romualdez was also asked, in an ambush interview after the briefing, if it is not dangerous for rice price decreases to rely solely on lower tariffs. According to the Speaker, there are other government programs being initiated that would possibly bring rice prices down to P29 per kilogram by August.

“We are actually initiating everything right now, ongoing na lahat po […] We are anticipating that NIA can bring to the table literally P29 pesos, P29 pesos, by August, no? So, this all within the near term, so to speak. We’re confident, that’s why there’s budget allocation, the agencies are committed, they are starting programs. These are not merely plans, so the effect will soon be felt,” he said.

Among the measures that are seen to bring rice prices down is the convergence program, where flood control programs will turn into rainwater collection mechanisms for irrigation, and eventually a source of energy through hydroelectric power plants.

“That’s not all, as I have said, we have this convergence plan, we are working with the [DA], with the NIA, the NFA , we are working also with the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) here regarding the proper use of funds, let’s say we have flood control programs, we will now align that with our irrigations systems so that we can have flood control,” Romualdez said.

“But we will dam the waters so we can now deploy these water resource for free irrigation, I said free because we have launched the solar irrigation, on top of that, that can also be a source for bulk water, possible hydroelectric power, and many other uses that’s why President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is looking at all agencies as to how resources are being deployed, these are being converged,” he added.

This is not the first time that Romualdez promised lower rice prices for the public. Last April 30, Romualdez said that rice prices can drop by P10 to P15 if Republic Act No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law is amended before session ends.

Romualdez said they are targeting to bring down rice prices close to the P30 per kilogram mark by restoring some of the NFA’s functions.

House Bill No. 10381 which seeks to change provisions in R.A. No. 11203 was approved on third reading last May 21, but no counterpart measure was filed in the Senate, therefore stalling the proposed amendments. QR Code

Published Date: June 24, 2024

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