Order on rice tariff cut stays for now

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Order on rice tariff cut stays for now
  • The order cutting the rice tariff stays for now amid claims of farmers and cooperative groups that the policy is unconstitutional
  • The Supreme Court ordered Malacañang to comment on the groups’ petition within 10 days
  • The groups sought a temporary restraining order against Executive Order 62
  • EO 62 reduced tariffs on imports of rice and other agriculture products

The order cutting the rice tariff stays for now amid claims of farmers and cooperative groups that the policy is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court ordered Malacañang to comment on the groups’ petition within 10 days.

The groups sought a temporary restraining order against Executive Order 62, which reduced tariffs on imports of rice and other agriculture products.

The tariff rates on rice took effect on July 5, while the rates for other goods is effective on July 20.

READ: Marcos issues EO 62 modifying import tariffs, including on rice

Named in the petition against the EO – also known as Modifying the Nomenclature and rates of Import Duty on Various Products — were Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and Tariff Commission Chairperson Marilou Mendoza.

SC spokesperson Camille Sue Ting said, “The court, without giving due course to the petition and prayer for TRO, required the respondents to file their comments within a non-extendable period of ten days from notice.”

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said his office had received a copy of the petition but not the SC resolution. They are studying the legal issues involved, he added.

Guevarra told media: “We do not know whether the SC will issue a TRO or not in the days to come. As far as the government is concerned, however, the EO will be implemented unless temporarily restrained by the SC.”

In their petition, Magsasaka party-list Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, the Federation of Free Farmers, the United Broiler Association, and the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative said the EO would make the country dependent on importation, contrary to the Constitution’s mandate calling for self-reliance and an independent economy.

They said EO 62 prohibits farmers from being more competitive, as it threatens them along with fisherfolk and the entire economy.

Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio issued Customs Memorandum Circular 118-2024 to implement the EO.