MANILA, Philippines- Ipinagtanggol ni Socioeconomic Planning and Finance ang landmark legislation na pinagtibay ng administrasyong Duterte.

Nauna na kasing nagpahayag ng interest si presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. na amiyendahan ang Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

Sa isang kalatas, sinabi ni Socioeconomic Planning and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Karl Kendrick Chua na ang RTL ay “the best model that we have to help both farmers and consumers.”

By removing quantitative restrictions, we are able to address both the needs of consumers for a lower retail price of rice and use the tariff revenues to fund the RCEF and provide even more assistance to farmers with excess tariff revenues,” ayon kay Chua.

Ang Republic Act No. 11203 o RTL, na naging epektibo noong Marso 5, 2019, ang pumalit sa quantitative restrictions pagdating sa imported rice na may taripa na 35% hanggang 40% at nagtatag ng Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) na pinondohan ng tariff revenues.

The RCEF is an appropriation of P10 billion, collected from rice import tariffs, in six years or up to 2024 to fund programs for farm mechanization, seed development, propagation and promotion, credit assistance, and extension services,” ayon sa ulat.

Samantala, ang rice import tariff collections na sobra sa P10 billion na ilalaan sa RCFEF ay apropyado ng Kongreso para sa susunod na taon para sa Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA) —direct financial assistance sa mga rice farmers, pagti-titulo sa agricultural rice lands, expanded crop insurance program, at crop diversification program.

Last year, we collected P18.9 billion from rice tariff collections. We gave all that back to rice farmers. Those calling for the removal of the RTL risk taking away what we are giving to farmers to improve their productivity. Further lowering the price of rice for all Filipinos is really possible if we help farmers improve productivity. That is exactly what the RTL is doing by providing them with mechanization, seeds, and other support,” ayon kay Chua.

Para naman kay Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III , sa unang tatlong taon ng implementasyon ng RTL, kumita ang pamahalaan ng P46.6 bilyong piso sa rice import duties, na direktang napakinabangan ng mga palay farmers sa pamamagitan ng P10-billion annual RCEF.

This law is an opportunity to revolutionize the agriculture sector and help our farmers become more competitive in the global economy,” ayon kay Dominguez.

Buwan ng Abril, isinuhestiyon ni presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. na amiyendahan ang RTL, naglalayong payagan ang “unlimited importation” ng bigas “as long as private sector traders secure a phytosanitary permit” mula sa Bureau of Plant Industry, at magbayad ng 35% taripa para sa shipments mula sa kalapit-bansa sa Southeast Asia.

Hindi natin kailangang mag-import ng bigas kung sapat naman ang supply ng ating magsasaka dahil ang dapat mas pinapalakas pa natin ang pagtanim at pag-ani ng ating mga palay,” ayon kay Marcos Jr. (Kris Jose, Remate)