METRO MANILA, Philippines – Alyansa ng Industriyang Bigas, a group of rice traders are appealing for a strong measure against rice cartels and smuggling to be included in the implementing Rules and Regulation that is being crafted for the Rice Tariffication Law.
Its founding chairman, Robert Hernandez, said that the illegal activities usually cause rice prices to increase in the market.
“Itong mga smuggler, itapon lang nila ang P200, may kita sila P150 sa P1,000, masaya na sila. Malaking kita na yan sa rice businesses. The government will do something. Included sa IRR measures how to eradicate those smugglers,” he said.
Hernandez added that, aside from the measures that the government will impose to help the local farmers, it must also monitor the cost that the retailers group will charge on top of the suggested retail price.
Under the Rice Tariffication Law, the 24-year implementation of the quantitative restriction on rice imporation has been replaced by a 35% tariff on rice importation from within ASEAN private traders.
This new system may result in the inflow of cheaper rice in the market, and the NFA rice will eventually be eliminated.
It will be recalled that one of the most significant issues raised before was the monopoly on rice supply wherein the name of Davidson Bangayan, was floated as a suspected big time rice smuggler.
The Department of Justice released a resolution in November 2018, and filed charges against Bangayan.
However, with the new tariffication law on rice, 10 billion pesos will be annually allocated to the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund.
This will directly help the Flipino farmers in improving the volume of their harvest.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Rice Tariffication Law or the Republic Act. No. 11203 on February 04, 2019 and it is expected to be imposed on March 05, 2019. – Freema Salonga-Gloria (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)