PRRD signs rice tariffication bill into law

MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday signed the rice tariffication bill into law, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed in a text message to reporters.

The signing will result in a switch from the current quota system in importing rice to a tariff system, where rice can be imported more freely.

Duterte earlier asked Congress to deem the measure’s passage urgent.

Various government agencies cited the gains of the law’s signing, such as giving farmers additional resources, reducing the price of rice, and lowering inflation significantly.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier said the enactment and full implementation of the law can bring down the prices of rice, benefitting Filipino families.

Senator Cynthia Villar earlier stressed that the rice tariffication measure would enhance the competitiveness of Filipino farmers rather than kill the local rice industry, as claimed by some progressive lawmakers and peasant groups. At least 10 business organizations have expressed their support for rice tariffication.

Meanwhile, the President also signed into law the New Central Bank Act, SSS Rationalization Act, and An Act Providing for Reasonable Rates for Political Advertisements.

He, however, vetoed the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund and partially vetoed the Tax Amnesty Act. Earl Jed Roque/PNA –