THE Bicameral conference committee has approved the Rice Tariffication Bill that would liberalize the importation of rice and eliminate cartel and smuggling.
Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson Cynthia Villar said that representatives from the Upper and Lower House has agreed the provisions on the proposed law for quantitative restrictions on rice.
Villar estimates that before the end of 2018, the bill will be approved into law and will be immediately implemented in 2019.
Under the proposed law, the government will not imposed restrictions on the importation of rice but businessmen should pay at least 35% tariff.
According to Villar, also under the proposal is the creation of the Rice Competetiveness Enhancement Fund that will have a P10 billion fund per year. This fund will be used to buy agricultural machinery and seeds that will be distributed to local farmers.
“Meron tayong rice competitiveness enhancement fund na P10 billion a year, so hopefully, we will be successful na,” Villar said.
Villar aims to get the signature of the members of the bicameral committee this week and hopeful that the proposal will be ratified by the two houses of Congress this coming Monday.
Once ratified, the proposal will be immediately sent to Malacanang for the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Along with this, the bicameral committee also approved the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act which is said to benefit coconut farmers.