Duterte urged to veto rice tariffication bill

February 06, 2019

BUTIL Rep. Cecil Chavez yesterday pleaded in behalf of the farmers to President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to veto the rice tariffication measure which underlying justification is unrealistic ill-advised, and should not be the anchor of the country’s rice supply stabilization program.

Chavez also warned the promise of at least P10 billion yearly in support fund to rice farmers under the rice tariffication measure will not also work “given the inefficiency of the institutions that will oversee the P10 billion fund.”

“There is also the temptation that the bureaucrats that will oversee the P10 billion fund will treat it as a generic government revenue which can be diverted to other concerns that are not related to helping and supporting the almost 3 million Filipino rice farmers, “ said Chavez.

Chavez said her main opposition to the measure is that a permanent policy of rice importation is an “existential threat” to the country’s rice supply stabilization program, given the volatile nature of the global rice supply.

“Put simply, unlimited rice importation is a threat to the country’s national food security goals,” said Chavez.

She also warned that the country’s rice farmers will cease to exist in a few years should the government stick to a policy of unlimited rice importation. Chavez said that a close study of the global rice supply market would show a “ very thin  global surplus”.

“Any minor tweak in the rice production in China and in the Indo-China regions would send global supply into a tight, pricey market which would be beyond the capacity of the Philippines to buy,” she said.