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Duterte renews call for passage of rice tariff bill

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has renewed his call for the passage of rice tariffication bill in Congress.

The proposal aims to lift the quantitative restrictions on rice imports and allow more entry of the staple into the country.

“I am decided na tariffication. Walang limit well of course, you have to auction. Kung sino ‘yung who can bid the highest, doon natin ibigay sa kanila… wala ng istorya istorya. Kung sinong may pera, mag-import ka sige. That could really stop corruption, ‘yung quota quota,” Duterte said during a situation briefing at the Cagayan Provincial Capitol in Tuguegarao City on Sunday.

The President added, “‘Pag may control ang gobyerno, corruption ‘yan. And I tell you again, for as long as [may] corruption and we cannot improve on law and order, we can never hope to rise. We will implement tariffication… maybe next one. Just enforce the law, allow everybody kung sino may pera. If he wins the bid, he can have it. It can also prevent the cartel.”

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said liberalizing rice imports will lower the inflation rate by 0.8 percentage points in early 2019.

The House of Representative approved in August House Bill No. 7735 or the Revised Agricultural Tariffication Act on third and final reading.

Senator Cynthia Villar, on one hand, said the Senate will “try hard” to pass its version of the rice
tariffication bill within the month.