Rice tariff law to help bottom 30% attain food security

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

February 18, 2019, 4:52 pm

MANILA -- Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday said the newly-signed rice tariffication law would enable the bottom 30 percent income families to attain food security by helping them put "enough rice on their tables".

Gatchalian made the statement as he welcomed the signing into law of the counter-inflationary measure.

"I am thankful that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Rice Tariffication Act, which I truly believe is a strong counter-inflationary measure that will help increase the supply of affordable rice in local retail markets," Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian said the new law is expected to bring down the price of rice by PHP4.50 to PHP5.50 per kilogram, or an estimated 11 percent to 12 percent decrease in the price per kilo.

This would translate to a decrease in the monthly headline inflation rate of 0.4 percent to 0.5 percent, he noted.

The rice tariffication law, he said, would result in savings of PHP2,661 to PHP3,252 per year for an average Filipino household of five, with an average annual consumption of around 591.25 kilograms of rice. This is equivalent to an additional 73 to 91 kilograms of rice at the table.

He said the law would also prevent rice hoarding and the manipulation of the staple's price.

"Matitigil na din ang pananamantala ng ilang rice traders at retailers sa ating kababayan ngayong nalagdaan na ng ating mahal na Pangulo ang Rice Tariffication Act. Dahil wala na ang quota sa pag-angkat ng bigas, mawawala na rin ang mga hoarders na nagtataas ng presyo ng bigas (This would finally put a stop to rice traders and retailers who who take advantage of the public, now that the President has signed the Rice Tariffication Act. Now that there is no more rice importation quota, there would no longer be hoarders who unjustifiably increase the price of rice)," Gatchalian said.

Senator Cynthia Villar, principal author of the measure, said the new law would create a package of support programs for farmers, particularly the PHP10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

Villar said this would help farmers enhance their profitability and competitiveness.

The law would also help address the needs of the farming sector through the PHP7 billion Rice Program under the Department of Agriculture, and the PHP7 billion budget for the palay procurement and buffer-stocking of the National Food Authority. (PNA)