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DA conducts nationwide information campaign on Rice Tariffication and Liberalization Law

Author: DA-AFID | 27 February 2019

To inform the farmers’ groups and stakeholders on the Rice Tariffication and Liberalization Law and address their concerns in the implementation of the said  law, the Department of Agriculture (DA) led by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol conducted yesterday, February 26, 2019, the first leg of the four series of nationwide consultations at the Philippine Carabao Center auditorium  in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

“The consultation is being done to salvage whatever we can, given that the law has been signed. We need to implement the law but we need to prepare its implementing rules and regulations (IRR),” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol said.

The Secretary added that there will be a series of information campaign nationwide, to solicit inputs crucial to the formulation of the required IRR required so that RA 11203 could become effective.

The Rice Tariffication and Liberalization Law (RA 11203), a commitment of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization 17 years ago, was signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on February 15, 2019 as “An Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation, and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice, and for Other Purposes.”

Lenard Guevara of the National Economic Development Authority presented the provisions of the IRR for the stakeholders’ comments and suggestions.

As stipulated in the draft IRR, the regulatory powers of the National Food Authority (NFA) have been removed/transferred. Thus, NFA can no longer issue negotiable warehouse receipts, no more authority to seize, issue licenses and regulate warehouses.

The rice industry stakeholders expressed their apprehensions on the said provision as the police functions of the NFA to safeguard warehouses and issue permits have been repealed. They asked for the reassurance that even with the removal of the  NFA’s regulatory functions the farmers groups are still to be safeguarded.

During the consultation, Piñol assured the farmers and the rice industry stakeholders and reminded everyone that “the President will not abandon you.”

“Since napirmahan na ito, magtiwala po tayo sa ating Pangulo,” he added.

The DA chief added that to lessen the impacts of the newly-signed law, the DA intends to improve competitiveness and farm income, enhance resiliency to disasters and climate risks, and ensure access to safe and nutritious rice through improvement/rehabilitation of irrigation systems, utilization of quality seeds (inbred and hybrid), farm mechanization, and easy access credit.

Succeeding information campaigns are scheduled as follows:

Feb. 27, Wednesday – Southern Luzon Cluster DA Agricultural Training Centre Lipa, Batangas, 9:00 am

Feb. 28, Thursday – Mindanao Cluster  – Venue Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City, 12 noon

Mar. 1, Friday – Visayas Cluster, Iloilo City,  9:00 a.m. Venue to be announced.

For queries regarding the Rice Trade Liberalization Law, type IRR<space>FIRST NAME<space>FAMILY NAME<space>TANONG O PAKSA NA GUSTO MONG MABIGYANG LINAW and send to 0922-663-6347. ### (Bethzaida Bustamante-DA-AFID)

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