Lawmaker seeks PCC probe on abusive rice importers

Maris Federez   •   September 4, 2019   •   984

A group of farmers has launched their complaints at Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the effect of the rice tariffication law on the agricultural sector.

They claimed that with the arrival of imported rice, the price of palay has been severely affected resulting in a significant loss.

“Magkano po ang ibinaba, 2 pesos, 4 pesos, where is the 7 pesos drop? Papaano ang palay, ang palay bumagsak na rin,” said Leonardo Montemayor, the chairman of the board of the Federation of Free Farmers.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said, to address this concern, they have offered loan assistance to small farmers.

“Maaring kaunti po , pero makakatulong po na P1.5 billion na immediately ipinamahagi po natin bilang pautang,” explained DA Usec Ariel Cayanan.

Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson Cynthia Villar said she seeks to have the distribution of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) under the Rice Tariffication Law to be closely monitored.

“Yung implementation ng RCEF, tututukan ko po yan, in fact I want it computerized para nalalaman natin kung ano yung mga bayan na sinasabi nilang binibigyan,” Villar said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, on the other hand, wants the Philippine Competition Commission to investigate the alleged abuse by rice importers.

“We ask the Philippine Competition Commission to investigate the existing rice importers if they have taken advantage of their collective dominance, dahil ang nakikita natin , bumaba ang presyo ng bigas, pero maliit lang,” Pangilinan said.

The rice tariffication law provides the allocation of P10-B fund for the RCEF as assistance to farmers.

Pangilinan, however, wants a separate fund of another P10-B be given directly to rice farmers.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reports said the rice tariff that the agency has collected since March has reached around P9.1-B.  (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Millers urge government to buy locally-produced rice

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Under Executive Order 135, the tariff on rice from countries like India, Pakistan and China will be reduced to 35% from 40% to 50%.

Agriculture group Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) said traders might divert and buy imported rice than the locally-produced one because of price differences.

As a consequence, millers would need to buy rice from local farmers at a lower price.

“Doon sa P24 na landed cost (ng imported rice), ang pwede nilang bili sa farmers is P15 ang dry, ang wet ay nasa P12. With that price, malulugi ang farmers dahil wala pa sa break even price iyon,” said SINAG’s Rosendo So.

Thus, millers are calling on government to buy locally produced rice through the National Food Authority (NFA) at P17.50 per kilogram and a milling fee of P3 to P5 per kilogram.

SINAG estimates that the government needs P205 billion to buy around 12 million metric tons of harvest from June to December this year.

“With this new EO, kung mag backout ang magsasaka dahil ang miller ay hindi bibili ng mataas dahil malulugi sila, malaking shortage natin sa bigas,” So added.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the NFA can only buy a limited volume of rice.

“NFA will only buy because they are mandated to maintain buffer stock, so yun lang ang bibilhin ng gobyerno,” Dar said.

The official said that only the 10% deficit in local rice production will be allowed to import.

Dar added that farmers are now enjoying the benefit of the rice enhancement competitive fund under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

“The farmers, sabi naman nila dati, aatras sila because of the RTL. The farmers continue to plant,” Dar noted.

He said the intention behind the lowering of tariff was to make rice affordable. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Mababang presyo ng palay dahil sa rice tariffication law, itinanggi ng DA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mariing pinabulaanan ng Department of Agriculture ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo ng mga magsasaka hinggil sa umano’y pagbaba ng presyo ng palay dahil sa ipinatutupad na Rice Tariffication Law.

Una nang nanawagan ang grupong Federation of Free Farmers sa Kongreso na imbestigahan ang pagpapatupad ng Rice Tariffication Law dahil sa naging epekto nito sa presyuhan ng palay.

Ayon sa grupo, bumaba sa P11 hanggang P13  kada kilo ang presyo ng basang palay habang nasa P14 hanggang P17 naman ang halaga ng tuyong palay.

Anila, ito ay dahil umano sa hindi kontroladong importasyon ng bigas at walang kasiguruhan sa polisiya ng kagawaran.

Ngunit ayon kay Agriculture Secretary William Dar, walang katotohanan at  ‘exaggerated’ lang ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo at ilang dating opisyal ng kagawaran.

Aniya, paraan lang ito upang maisulong ang kanilang panukalang amiyendahan ang mga probisyon ng rice tariffication law.

“The interest groups, along with former DA officials, have exaggerated data on palay to push for the amendment or repeal of the RTL (rice tariffication law). They are resurrecting old arguments against RTL,” ang wika ni Dar.

Batay aniya sa survey ng Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) na isinagawa mula Setyembre 16-30, 2020, nasa P18 kada kilo ang average na presyo ng palay sa Central Luzon habang P19 naman sa Cagayan Valley.

Ang dalawang rehiyon ang nangunguna sa produksyon ng palay sa bansa na katumbas ng 31.5 percent ng total harvest noong 2019.

Sa ulat naman ng Philippine Statistics Authoroty, lumalabas na nasa P17.12 kada kilo naman ang farmgate price ng palay sa huling dalawang linggo ng Setyembre – mas mataas kumpara sa P16.18 kada kilo na presyo sa kaparehong panahon noong 2019.

Ayon kay Dar, ang mga nasabing survey ay nagpapakita lamang ng totoong presyo ng palay na taliwas sa sinasabi ng ilang grupo.

“Makikita dito na hindi nagkakalayo ang data na ginagamit ng gobyerno, and definitely the reality is, hindi kasing baba ang presyo ng palay as interest groups claim on social media,” ang wika ni Dar.

Tiniyak naman ni Dar na nakahanda ang National Food Authority na bilhin ang palay na ibinibenta ng mga magsasaka sa halagang P19 kada kilo na nasa mga bodega at buying stations sa bansa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Grab PH slapped with new fines of P16-M for overcharging, driver cancellations

Marje Pelayo   •   December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Transport network vehicle service (TNVS) company Grab Philippines is facing new fines worth P16 million for exceeding driver cancellations and overcharging.

Because of these reasons, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) ruled that Grab violated its pricing commitment to its clients.

“Grab should pay P14.5 million after its price surges went beyond the cap set by regulators, and P2 million for exceeding the allowed driver cancellations to 7.76% instead of the committed 5%,” the PCC said.

In response, Grab Philippines said it acknowledged the findings of the PCC but argued that the lack of drivers to service the growing commuter demands, coupled with the worsening traffic situation, commonly resulted in driver cancellations.

The ride-hailing company promised to refund the total computed administrative penalty of P14.15 million through GrabPay credits of those passengers who took Grab rides from May 11 to August 10, 2019.

Grab will then pay PCC the remaining P2 million.

In November, PCC asked Grab to pay over P23 million pesos for overcharging. – MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

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