By Chino Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, President Duterte’s chief economic manager, has no plan to stop the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, noting the newly imposed measure has drastically reduced the retail prices of the Filipino’s staple food.
Dominguez on Thursday dismissed calls to review Republic Act No. 11203 (the Rice Tariffication Law) that allows the unimpeded rice importation into the country.
When reporters sought for his response to calls for a review of RA-11203, Dominguez categorically responded, “No.”
Instead, the Finance chief showed to Department of Finance reporters a note that contains the retail rice price based on the weekly monitoring by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Francisco G. Dakila Jr.
Based on the BSP report submitted to Dominguez, the average cost of well-milled rice declined from P49.06 per kilo in September last year to P45.09 in January and P42.92 as of June this year.
Likewise, the price of regular-milled rice dropped from September last year’s P45.75 a kilo to P41.41 in January and P38.56 last month.
Several farmers had earlier claimed that retail prices of rice have remained high in the local markets during the first three-month implementation of RA 11203. This trend is in contrast to the falling farmgate price of palay.
But Dominguez said the rice retail prices are now cheaper by P5 to P10 per kilo compared to last year.
He also said that farmers are assured of at least P10 billion in funds each year via the new Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to modernize the agriculture sector.
“The Rice Tariffication Law finally liberalized rice trading after 30 years of failed attempts by previous administrations. The law has made quality rice more affordable and accessible to Filipino consumers, thereby bringing down inflation,” Dominguez said.