House approves amended Rice Tariffication Law on 2nd reading

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House approves amended Rice Tariffication Law on 2nd reading
https://www.portcalls.com/house-committee-oks-substitute-bill-amending-rice-tariffication-law/
  • The bill seeking to amend the Rice Tariffication Law has been approved with amendments on second reading by the House of Representatives
  • The Lower House on May 14 approved House Bill No. 10381, which substituted various bills filed seeking to either repeal or make amendments to Republic Act No. 11203 or the RTL
  • Amendments include giving the National Food Authority the temporary authority to stabilize the price and supply of rice during food security emergencies
  • Once the measure is enacted into law, it would increase the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund from P10 billion to P15 billion and extend it for another six years

The bill seeking to amend the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) has been approved with amendments on second reading by the House of Representatives.

The House Committees on Agriculture and Food, Appropriations, and Ways and Means on May 14 approved on second reading House Bill (HB) No. 10381, which substituted various bills filed seeking to either repeal or amend Republic Act (RA) No. 11203 or the RTL.

The House is expediting the approval of the bill after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on May 6 said he would certify as urgent measures seeking to amend the RTL to lower rice prices.

HB 10381 will amend RA 8178, or the Agricultural Tariffication Act, as amended by RA 11203.

The RTL, or An Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation, and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice, and for Other Purposes, was signed on February 15, 2019 with the aim of bringing down the cost of the staple.

Amendments introduced during the second reading of HB 10381 include giving the National Food Authority (NFA) the temporary authority to stabilize the price and supply of rice during food security emergencies as granted by the secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The NFA will have the authority to oversee and ensure compliance of all grain warehouses. The bill will also reinstate NFA’s authority to regulate foreign investment in the rice and corn industries.

Once the measure is enacted into law, it would increase the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) from P10 billion to P15 billion and extend it for another six years, with its mechanization component expanded to include the construction and enhancement of postharvest and processing facilities.

The DA during a Committee on Agriculture and Food hearing on May 6 urged Congress to restore the NFA’s function as a rice price stabilizer and increase its fund allocation for programs to enhance rice production and farmers’ incomes.

While recognizing benefits of RTL on the productivity and incomes of farmers, DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. said changes to the RTL are needed in view of climate change that shortened the frequency of El Niño events to 3-5 years.

Given the lack of significant investments in agricultural infrastructure over the past 27 years, DA said it supports the extension of RTL and the increase of RCEF.

READ: House committee oks substitute bill amending rice tariffication law