Solon decries ‘ill-advised’ rice tariffication

February 06, 2019

BUTIL party-list Rep. Cecil Chavez yesterday pleaded in behalf of the farmers to President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to veto the rice tariffication measure whose underlying justification “is unrealistic ill-advised, and should not be the anchor of the country’s rice supply stabilization program.”

Chavez also warned that the promise of at least P10 billion yearly in support fund to rice farmers under the rice tariffication measure will not work “given the inefficiency of the institutions that will oversee the P10 billion fund.”

“There is also the temptation that the bureaucrats that will oversee the P10 billion fund will treat it as a generic government revenue which can be diverted to other concerns that are not related to helping and supporting the almost 3 million Filipino rice farmers,” said Chavez.

Chavez said her main opposition to the measure is that a permanent policy of rice importation is an “existential threat “to the country’s rice supply stabilization program, given the volatile nature of the global rice supply.

“Put simply, unlimited rice importation is a threat to the country’s national food security goals,” said Chavez.

She also warned that the country’s rice farmers will cease to exist in a few years should the government stick to a policy of unlimited rice importation. Chavez said that a close study of the global rice supply market would show a “very thin” global surplus.