President Marcos Jr., DA officials tackle major concerns in agri sector

Author: DA-AFID | 14 July 2022

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. led the discussions on the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) and increasing the production of priority commodities including rice, livestock, and high value crops during a meeting with Department of Agriculture (DA) officials on July 12, 2022.

Undersecretary for Research, Innovation, Training and Extension Leocadio Sebastian, Undersecretary-designate for Consumer and Political Affairs Kristine Evangelista, and Assistant Secretary-designate for Operations Arnel De Mesa reported the production and supply status and the actions being done by the department to increase available food supply.

The officials also discussed the RTL reassessment since the President and concurrent DA chief requested for recommendations on the law’s pros and cons and whether it should be ratified during his first executive meeting at DA.

In a separate statement, new Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno expressed his support for the continuation of the RTL considering its contribution in taming inflation.

The previous administration cited the RTL as a landmark law and one of the game-changing reforms that benefitted millions of Filipinos.

With the implementation of the RTL, which provides a P10-billion yearly budget through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), and the DA Rice Program, the country consistently achieved record high palay production in the last three years.

The country registered a total of 18.814 million metric tons (MMT) of palay harvest in 2019, 19.295MMT in 2020, and 19.96MMT in 2021.

It was also reported that through the RTL, the price of regular milled rice decreased from P42.3/kg in 2018 to P38.6/kg in 2019, and the price of well-milled rice declined from P44.6/kg in 2018 to P42.6/kg in 2019.

The urgent priority for the President is to address the looming food crisis by increasing the country’s food supply and ensuring that there will be enough and affordable food for Filipinos.

The President is set to present the administration’s six-year plan during his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2022. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID) 

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