Senator Cynthia A. Villar today (May 11, 2022) said she is grateful for the appreciation and recognition given to her Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) given by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez.

Dominguez said last month that Villar’s RTL is among the government’s accomplishments in advancing the country’s economic development under the administration of President Duterte for the past six years.

Villar is the chairperson of the Senate committee on food and agriculture,

In his presentation paper entitled: “The Ship of State Has Been Masterfully Steered,” Domingauez, head of the Economic Development Cluster (EDC), listed the major achievements of Duterte administration in expanding the country’s economy.

One of the laws highlighted is the game-changing RTL and its positive impact on the Philippine’s agriculture sector.

RA 11203, or the “Rice Tariffication Law”, principally authored by Villar, was approved in 2019. Since then, it has been helping alleviate the living conditions of Filipino farmers.

The law opened up the rice market, imposed tariff on imported rice, created the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and lowered the price of the commodity in the market for the benefit of the general population,’’ the Dominguez paper said.

Since the law was implemented, the government has earned a total of P46.6-billion in rice import tariffs.

This amount directly benefits our rice farmers who get credit access, high-quality inbred rice seeds, extension and training and farm mechanization to assist rice farmers to build productivity and enhance their competitiveness.

The RTL was finally achieved after more than 30 years of failed attempts under previous administrations. The law opened up the Philippine rice market and in turn, lowered the price of the country’s staple food for more than 100 million Filipinos,” Dominguez pointed out.

He added that RTL is a landmark law that reforms the country’s previous dysfunctional rice policy.

“Rice is no longer the main contributor to our overall inflation rate. The RTL ensures that farmers benefit directly by providing at least P10-billion each year and the consumers have a wider variety of rice choices now,” Dominquez said.

Among the other laws cited by Dominguez are RA 11032 or The Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, Philippine Identification System Act (RA 11055), Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN Law) or RA10963.

“The TRAIN Law, together with the other tax packages under the tax reform program of the government, has raised a little over half a trillion pesos in additional revenues during the first four years of its implementation,” Dominguez pointed out.

Under the present administration, Domiquez noted that “tax collection efficiency has improved to 16.1 percent of GDP in 2019 from 15.1 percent in 2015, the highest achievement in over two decades.’’

The government has collected an average of P68.7 billion annually from the various GOCCs (Government-owned and -controlled corporations) which is more than twice the average annual collection of the previous government. The robust revenue growth has enabled the country to sustain the funding of our ambitious “Build, Build, Build Program,” which will be an enduring legacy of the Duterte administration,’’ he said. .

’The government’s infrastructure spending of over five percent of our GDP has more than doubled the expenditures incurred by the last four administrations,’’ he added.

‘’Despite the impact of the pandemic, the country’s hard-won reforms bolstered the recovery and rebuilding efforts towards a strong economic resurgence and a more inclusive growth,’’ he stressed.

“The next administration will inherit many hard-won reforms and will enter the office with the basic groundwork for rapid growth already in place,” he said. (by Mario Casayuran, Manila Bulletin)