By KMP (PR)
BAGUIO CITY — The Philippine Congress has signed the death certificate of the local rice industry and rice farmers with the approval of the Agricultural Tariffication Act or House Bill 7735 on third and final reading this afternoon, August 14, 2018. In a vote of 200 YES, 7 NO and 2 ABSTAIN, the Lower House has approved the tariffication of rice imports in lieu of quantitative restrictions on rice imports.
“It’s the final death blow to the already ailing rice industry. This law totally abandons the local rice industry and millions of rice farmers and stakeholders in the rice industry. We can expect sky-high, unaffordable rice prices and ballooning hunger statistics in the coming months and years.
Congress, as sanctioned by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Duterte did this to us,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
“Farmers have always maintained that rice tariffication is not the fix-all solution to the rice problem. In fact, decades of rice importation initiated by the government led to the ‘rice crisis’ that resulted to the dwindling supply of cheap rice due to hoarding by rice traders, rice smuggling and high rice prices.”
“Only the rice cartel and private rice traders would benefit from tariffication. Consumers and rice farmers are at the losing end of this situation,” the KMP leader said.
“How can local rice farmers thrive now? They can never compete with the influx of imported rice from Thailand, Vietnam and other countries whose farmers receive production support and subsidies from their respective states. No safety nets can protect Filipino rice farmers now.”
Instead of Rice Tariffication, the government should support the Rice Industry Development Act that aims to strengthen the domestic rice industry. # nordis.net