House amendments to rice tariff law approved on 3rd reading

House amendments to rice tariff law approved on 3rd reading

/ 05:48 PM May 21, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has approved a proposal amending Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) to restore some of the National Food Authority (NFA) functions.

House Bill (HB) No. 10381 was approved during Tuesday’s plenary session, with 231 lawmakers voting in the affirmative, three in the negative, and one abstaining.

If signed into law, NFA will have the “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,” by placing a new Section 5 in R.A. No. 8178.


R.A. 8178 is the Agricultural Tariffication Act, amended by the RTL in 2019.


Also, the Agriculture secretary can now declare, based on the recommendation of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) or Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC), a food security emergency due to the following reasons:

  • Shortage in the supply of rice
  • Sustained increase in the price of rice
  • Extraordinary increase in the price of rice

During a food security emergency, the NFA could intervene and sell rice directly by purchasing grains from local farmers, with importation as a last resort.

The bill was approved on second reading on May 14, but it was brought back to the plenary a day later for further amendments. It was again approved on second reading on May 15.

The House leadership, including Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, believes that the amendments can lower rice prices by P10 to P15 per kilogram.

However, the bill faces opposition in the Senate amid fears that giving back some of NFA’s mandates might lead to corruption again.

According to the House Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson and Quezon 1st District Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga, reinstating certain NFA powers would not expose the agency to corruption because the agency will have a limited role in terms of importation.


Enverga also said that they also want to brief the senators about their proposed amendments to the RTL, adding that he understands where Senate members like Senator Cynthia Villar are coming from.

Villar, the principal author of the RTL, is one of the several senators who have warned against amending R.A. No. 11203 as the law specifically barred NFA from importing and selling rice due to rampant corruption in the agency.

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But Enverga said the bill contains safeguards, noting that NFA’s role with their proposed amendments would now be more focused on monitoring the rice industry to ensure cheaper rice prices.

TAGS: Rice Tariffication Act amendments, rice tariffication law

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