Bongbong Marcos rejects proposal to reduce rice tariffs
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has rejected a proposal to reduce tariffs on imported rice.
“It was not the right time to lower the tariff rates because the projection of world rice prices is that it will go down. So, this is not the right time to lower tariffs,” the Chief Executive said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Tariffs are generally lowered when the price is going up,” he explained.
The decision was made in consultation with the economic managers, namely officials from Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and National Development Economic Authority (Neda).
DBM and Neda had previously sought to suspend rice tariffs in a bid to control the high prices of rice in the country.
If it had pushed through, special taxes imposed on imported rice would have been reduced or removed.
However, Palace said Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and Agriculture Undersecretaries Leocadio Sebastian and Mercedita Sombilla agreed it was not right to lower tariffs.
They observed that the price of the grain in the global market was going down.
Palace acknowledged the concern of farmers that rice tariff reduction would undervalue their local produce.
The price cap on rice is still in effect to control the rampant increase in the cost of this commodity.