Gov’t to import rice only after local farmers’ harvest season, Palace assures
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday assured local farmers the government will only import rice once the harvest season is over amid calls from some senators for President Rodrigo Duterte to withdraw his order lowering rice tariffs.
Senators said Executive Order No. 135 will only put more burden to local farmers and could cost the government millions in foregone revenues.
Under the said EO, the most favored nation (MFN) tariff rate for rice is reduced to 35 percent, from 40 percent for in-quota imports and 50 percent for out-quota imports.
“Paunawa po sa ating mga producers pero hinding hindi naman po tayo mag-aangkat sa panahon ng harvest,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.
(We ask for understanding from the producers but we will not import during the harvest season.)
“Aantayin na po muna natin na matapos ang harvest nang sa ganon, hindi maapektuhan ang presyo ng bentahan ng mga magsasaka sa merkado,” he added.
(We will wait for the harvest season to end so that it will not affect the prices in the market.)
Roque explained the Philippines still has a shortfall of 10 percent in terms of its rice supply.
“Ito po’y para masiguro na yung 10 percent na kakailanganin pa natin despite the bumper harvest this year ay makukuha natin sa mababang halaga kaya po bahagyang ibinaba ang taripa,”
(This is to ensure that we can secure the 10 percent we need at a lower price. That’s why we slightly lowered the tariffs despite the bumper harvest this year.)
“Dahil kung tataas nanaman po yung presyo ng bigas, makakaapekto nanaman at magreresulta sa mas mataas na inflation,” he added.
(If the price of rice increases, this will result in a higher inflation.)
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