House members hope Senate will okay bill meant to cut rice cost

House members hope Senate will approve bill meant to cut rice price

/ 02:09 PM May 13, 2024

No rice price drop seen in next 2 months - DA

STILL THE SAME / FEBRUARY 15, 2024 Rice prices are displayed at a rice retail store in Marikina Public Market in Marikina City on Thursday, February 15, 2024. (INQUIRER file photo / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE)

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the House of Representatives have urged the Senate to consider their bill seeking to amend the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) as a way to decrease rice prices.

During a press briefing on Monday, Quezon 1st District Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga was asked about what the House would do if the Senate does not act on the proposed amendments — considering that there is an opposition to the bill.


Enverga, chairperson of the House committee on agriculture and food, admitted that they cannot compel senators to act on the measure, but he hopes it would be considered as it would address concerns about high rice prices.


“Well, of course, that is beyond us. We cannot compel our counterparts, and just the same, they cannot compel us to do what they want,” Enverga told reporters at the Batasang Pambansa.

“But we hope that through dialogue, we could somehow thresh some of the disagreeing provisions,” he added.

READ: Scrutinize plan to re-allow NFA to buy and sell rice, senators say 

Enverga said a committee report on the proposed RTL amendments has been released, with the consolidated measure now being labeled as House Bill (HB) No. 10381.

The lawmaker said discussions at the plenary may start on Monday or Tuesday.

Under the proposal, the RTL’s Section 5 would be amended to allow the National Food Authority (NFA) to “exercise its authority to oversee and ensure compliance with all pertinent standards and regulations, leveraging its established expertise and nationwide network to uphold the national interest, in rice buffer stocking and food security”.


The House leadership believes the amendments can bring down rice prices by P10 to P15 per kilogram because the NFA can provide cheaper rice and increase competition.

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

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Raul Angelo Bongalon and La Union 1st District Rep. Francisco Paolo Ortega, who were both present during the hearing, supported Enverga’s stand — hoping the Senate considers the measure.

Ortega said if senators want to make rice more affordable, this is a way to achieve that because NFA would again be allowed to monitor and stabilize rice prices, especially in emergencies.

“You guys are pretty much familiar po sa mga interviews then of the different senators. They ask why rice prices are high, what we can do to decrease prices […] but we are already coming up with the solutions from the House,” Ortega said.

“If these are their sentiments, I think they would understand our proposed amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law,” he noted.

Bongalon, meanwhile, said it might be frustrating if the Senate does not act on the measure.

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“Of course, for me, I guess (with) the effort of the administration and, of course, the efforts of the House, if there would be no amendment to the RTL — and (if) it will be enacted — of course, we’d be frustrated (if the Senate does not act) because our President himself said we need to lower the rice prices,” Bongalon said.

TAGS: House, rice

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