Marcos to certify amendments to Rice Tariffication Law as urgent

Marcos to certify amendments to Rice Tariffication Law as urgent
SunStar File

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vowed Monday, May 6, 2024, to certify as urgent the proposed amendments to Republic Act 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), in a bid to lower rice prices in the country.

In an interview, Marcos raised the need for the government to influence or control rice prices, which can only be done when amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law are introduced, particularly in buying palay and selling rice to the public.

“Yes, I think it justifies the urgent certification,” he said.

“Ang problema kasi kaya tumataas ang presyo ng bigas dahil ang mga trader ay nagko-compete. Pataasan sila ng presyuhan sa pagbili ng [bigas] at wala tayong control doon,” he added.

(The problem is that the price of rice is increasing because traders are competing. They will increase the price of buying [rice] and we have no control over that.)

House Speaker Martin Romualdez has been pushing for the amendment, which will allow the National Food Authority (NFA) to sell rice in the markets.

He said it is seen to bring down rice prices by P10 to P15 or close to the P30 per kilogram mark.

Envisioned to bring down rice prices, the RTL allows unlimited entry of imported rice in the country. It prohibits the NFA, however, from buying and selling rice and limits the agency’s mandate to managing buffer rice stocks.

“The certification of this bill as urgent by President Marcos is a critical step forward in our concerted efforts to improve the livelihood of our local farmers and ensure food security for all Filipinos,” Romualdez said.

“This amendment will allow us to address the challenges and limitations of the current law, ensuring that it serves the best interest of the agricultural sector and the consumers,” he added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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