Press Release
February 20, 2019


CABANATUAN CITY--Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara urged the government to ensure that support and benefits for farmers under the newly enacted rice tariffication law reach farm workers to help them cope with the lifting of the quantitative restrictions on rice imports aimed at lowering the cost of rice to a level more affordable for Filipinos.

"The government must ensure that support measures under the law will be fully realized for the benefit of our local rice farmers," Angara said while campaigning in New Ecija, which is dubbed as the "rice granary of the Philippines" because of its endless farms dedicated to producing the staple food.

Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Act lifts the import restrictions on rice, subject to 35 percent tariff for rice from the ASEAN and 50 percent for rice from non-ASEAN countries.

According to Angara, the law has built-in safeguards to protect local farmers from the impact of a free flow of imports.

"Habang pinaluluwag natin ang patakaran sa pag-angkat ng bigas para gawing abot-kaya ang halaga nito, kailangan din nating bigyan ng ayuda ang mga magsasaka para sila ay maging produktibo at kayang makipagsabayan sa rice importers," Angara said.

Angara said that a Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) will be created under the law. Initial funding of P10 billion for the RCEF will be included in the General Appropriations Act.

The RCEF seeks to provide various forms of assistance to rice farmers, such as development of inbred rice seeds, rice farm equipment and skills enhancement.

The fund will serve as a special safeguard to protect the rice industry, which will be distributed, accordingly: 50 percent for machinery and equipment; 30 percent for rice seed development, propagation and promotion; 10 percent for expanded rice credit assistance; and 10 percent for rice extension services.

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