Duterte inks rice tariffication bill
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the rice tariffication bill despite a strong lobby against the measure by the industry stakeholders.
"Tariff bill signed," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a text message to reporters.
The law provides that the State adopts the use of tariffs in lieu of non-tariff import restrictions to protect local producers of agricultural products.
Also signed into law were the Social Security System Rationalization Act, New Central Bank Act, and an Act Providing for Reasonable Rates for Political Advertisements, according to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The Tax Amnesty Act was partially vetoed, added Medialdea.
Prior to signing of the bill, the rice industry stakeholders asked Duterte to veto certain provisions of the measure, particularly the removal of the regulatory authority of the National Food Authority (NFA).
Alyansa ng Industriya Bigas (Alliance of the Rice Industry) had said the deregulation of the NFA would mean "import-all-you-can scenario."
Congress transmitted to the Office of the President the "Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation, and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction n Rice, and for Other Purposes" on January 15.
If Duterte did not sign or veto the bill, it would have lapsed into law 30 days after its submission to his office. Celerina Monte/DMS