Speaker: Rice prices down P15 if rice tariff law amended by June

Romualdez: Rice prices down P15 if rice tariff law amended by June

/ 04:46 PM April 30, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Rice prices can drop by P10 to P15 if Republic Act No. 11203 or the rice tariffication law is amended by June, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Tuesday.

Romualdez, in an ambush interview at the Batasang Pambansa complex, announced that they are targeting to bring down rice prices close to the P30 per kilogram mark by June so that poor Filipino families can have access to cheaper rice.

“So our target is by June, we should bring the price of rice down by at least P10 or up to P15, close to P30 per kilo, we will do this by having the NFA (National Food Authority) bring to the market affordable rice so that people can buy affordable rice,” he told reporters.


“So there are amendments we have laid down, that the committee is discussing, and we also urge our friends in the Senate to make this urgent, and we will coordinate with the Office of the President, because this is the goal of our President (Ferdinand Marcos Jr.) — that rice prices be brought down for our people,” he said.


Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo explained in a separate interview after Romualdez that the rice tariffication law prevented the NFA from directly selling rice to farmers, which eventually impacted people’s access to cheap varieties.

“Kasi the RTL, the rice tariffication law prohibited NFA from selling rice directly.  Right now, it took away the powers of the NFA to sell rice, what the NFA does now is to store and store rice for calamities, for DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), but 10 years ago, before this RTL law, NFA sold rice, right?” Tulfo said.

“Those who do not have money buy NFA rice.  Now you cannot buy NFA rice, and grains are expensive — P56, P50 (per kilogram), that’s what we intend to bring down.  That’s why the Speaker is fast-tracking the review of the RTL now […] And at the same time he will talk to the President to whisper to the Senate that this bill be a priority so that  NFA can sell rice again,” he added.

The House committee on agriculture and food has conducted two hearings in as many days since the session’s resumption, all focused on discussing amendments to R.A. 11203.

Among the bills discussed are the following:

  • House Bill (HB) No. 212 seeking to amend R.A. No. 11203’s Section 13 (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or RCEF), to lift the quantitative import restriction on rice, authored by Nueva Ecija 1st District Rep. Mikaela Angela Suansing
  • HB No. 404, seeking to repeal the whole R.A. No. 11203, authored by Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas
  • HB No. 1562, seeking to authorize the Bureau of Customs’ excess tariff revenues from rice importation and other possible sources as a special emergency fund, and be used as financial aid for rice farmers, authored by Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte Jr.
  • HB No. 9030, seeking to create a national rice emergency response, authored by Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo
  • HB No. 9547, seeking to extend the RCEF, authored by Nueva Ecija 3rd District Rep. Rosanna Vergara

Goal not attained

Committee chairperson and Quezon 1st District Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga said during the hearing that while R.A. No. 11203 has helped farmers through cash assistance, it has been detrimental to the local supply due to the deluge of imports.

“The gains and pains of Republic Act No. 11203, the rice tariffication law, has always been one of the main topics or issues in the agriculture sector,” Enverga said.

“We cannot deny the fact that the law has accorded millions of rice farmers the much-needed assistance. However, the law is always challenged when it comes to rice supply and rice prices,” he added.

The rice tariffication law, signed into law last March 2019 during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, created the RCEF, which is funded by tariff revenues.

READ: Rice tariffication law: Farmers worry; lawmakers wary

While the RCEF seeks to assist farmers, opposition figures back then claimed that the law made the situation worse for farmers as they faced stiff competition from cheaper imports. 

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READ: Arguments to repeal rice tariffication: Prices still high but farmers poorer

Critics also contested that the law’s goal—to allow imports so that supply will increase and eventually lower prices—has not been attained.

TAGS: rice price, rice tariffs

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