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Senate praised for passing rice tarrification bill

Malacañang on Thursday thanked the Senate for passing the rice tarrification bill on third and final reading and said it was optimistic the chamber would be able to immediately reconcile its version of the measure with that of the House of Representatives.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that President Duterte had certified the bill, which would lift restriction on rice importation, as urgent.

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Artificial shortage

“In his communication with the leaders of the Senate, the President expressed the urgent need to improve the availability of rice in the country to prevent artificial shortage, reduce the prices of rice in the market, and curtail the prevalence of corruption and cartel domination in the rice industry,” Panelo said in a statement.

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He said they were optimistic that the bill would pass smoothly in conference. The House passed its version of the bill in August.

Import restrictions

“We are confident that, through the enactment of this bill into law, we would be able to protect the rice industry from sudden price fluctuations and eventually ease the burden of the Filipino consumers from soaring prices,” Panelo said.

The bill will replace the current system of imposing quantitative import restrictions on rice with tariffs.

Under the bill, rice imports from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will be charged a tariff of at least 35 percent, while imports from non-Asean countries will get a tariff of 50 percent.

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