Government support to farmers won't take hit from rice tariff cut--Enverga 

At a glance

  • The Palace-ordered reduction on the duties imposed on imported rice won’t lead to reduced government support for rice farmers, according to Quezon 1st district Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga.

IMG-6373c07e471b8dcc29dd57cfd87edbaa-V.jpgQuezon 1st district Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga (Contributed photo)







The Palace-ordered reduction on the duties imposed on imported rice won’t lead to reduced government support for rice farmers. 

Quezon 1st district Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, gave this assurance to the sector during a press conference Thursday, June 6 at the Manila Golf and Country Club in Makati City. 

According to Enverga, the proposed higher allocation of P15 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) under the House version of the revised Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) is guaranteed to be funded next year. 

“We will make sure that our rice farmers won’t be short-changed in this government effort to bring down the cost of rice for the benefit of millions of Filipino consumers. So, even if tariff collection falls short for RCEF allocation, the government will provide funds to fill whatever deficiency to ensure sufficient financing for the Rice Fund,” said Enverga. 

Earlier this week, President Marcos announced that the tariff for imported rice would be slashed from 35 percent to 15 percent. The money collected from this tariff forms the RCEF. 

The current RCEF, otherwise known as Rice Fund, sets aside P10 billion a year to fund farm mechanization, provision of better seeds, as well as training on new farming technologies for the benefit of local farmers. The RCEF was supposed to end this year but pending legislation seeks to extend it until 2030. 

Thursday's presser was preceded by a consultation between rice industry stakeholders and House of Representatives officials, including Speaker Martin Romualdez and Enverga. 

The ranking congressmen wanted to ensure that the expected benefits of the impending tariff reduction will actually trickle down to consumers in the form of cheaper rice--the Filipino staple food. 

Data from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) showed that tariff collection on rice imports in the first five months of 2024 has already reached P21 billion--more than enough to cover the proposed higher Rice Fund allocation. 

“This is now a whole of nation approach. The private supermarket operators, who we met earlier, are willing to absorb some losses in support of this effort of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to bring down the price of rice,” Speaker Romualdez said. 

“What we want is that every Filipino family table will have affordable, quality rice all year round,” he added. 

Jeffrey Lim, president of SM Prime, the company of the Sy Group that runs supermarkets and other retail outlet; and Vicent Co, president of Puregold, were present during the consultative meeting. 

“We’re anticipating that we will feel the impact on this tariff reduction as soon as possible, maybe before the SONA (State of the Nation Address),” said Romualdez, referring to the President’s upcoming annual speech this July 22. 

The tariff reduction is expected to be implemented within the third quarter.