MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has rejected a proposal to reduce tariffs on imported rice.
“It was not the right time to cut tariffs because the projection of world rice prices is that they will fall. So this is not the right time to cut rates,” the Chief Executive said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Rates are generally reduced as prices rise,” he explains.
The decision was made in consultation with the economic managers, namely officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Budget and Management (DBM) and the National Economic Development Authority (Neda).
DBM and Neda had earlier tried to suspend rice tariffs in a bid to control high rice prices in the country.
Had it passed, special taxes on imported rice would have been reduced or abolished.
However, Palace said Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and Agriculture Undersecretaries Leocadio Sebastian and Mercedita Sombilla agreed that it was not right to cut rates.
They noted that the price of grain on the world market was falling.
Palace acknowledged farmers’ concerns that a cut in rice tariffs would undervalue their local produce.
The price ceiling for rice is still in place to control the rampant increase in the cost of this commodity.
The price ceiling on rice could be lifted after the harvest, Marcos hints
Bongbong Marcos to government agencies: Strictly enforce rice policy