The Philippines: Legislator seeks review of Rice Tariffication Law after gov’t rice imports

  • MAGSASAKA Partylist Representative Argel T. Cabatbat called for a review of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) after the government resumed imports on its own account by declaring an auction for 300,000 metric tons (MT) of rice via government to government (G2G) deals.
  • Cabatbat said the plan to import rice by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), is a “step back” from the original intent of the RTL.
  • Cabatbat asked the DA to clarify why imports were resorted to despite the department’s assurance that there is no impending rice shortage.
  • “It is more expensive to import rice and it only adds to the burden of our rice farmers, instead of helping them.” Cabatbat said.
  • On 8 Jun 20, the PITC conducted an online auction for rice imports amounting to 300,000 MT, with four countries showing interest. Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and India have posted bids to supply well-milled long-grain rice with 25% brokens, for delivery to five ports.
  • Half or 150,000 MT must be shipped not later than 14 Jul 20 while the other half is due to arrive on or before 14 Aug 20.
  • The national government, via the PITC, has allotted PHP7.45bn for the G2G imports, while the reference price was set at USD497.62 per MT, equivalent to around PHP25,000.
  • “We have the current supply, and we can produce a metric ton of rice at PHP12,720,” Cabatbat said.
  • “The amount that the DA is planning to spend for imported rice could uplift the rice industry from the visible damage the RTL has visited upon hundreds of thousands of Filipino farmers who found themselves on the brink of bankruptcy during the last planting season,” Cabatbat said.

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