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Former Socioeconomic Secretary Solita “Mareng Winnie” Monsod gave President Rodrigo Duterte rare praise for finally signing into law the shift from rice quota to rice tariffs Monsod said the Filipinos waited for 15 years for a President to have the political will to enforce this much needed economic reform which called unequivocably “pro-poor.”

“President Duterte’s human rights record is execrable, and I have dwelt on it in detail… but the two bills he signed into law—the Rice Tariffication Act and the Universal Health Care Act—stand out as much-needed reforms whose enactment and approval deserve applause. They are genuinely pro-poor… it is a good law,” said Monsod in her Inquirer column.

Monsod said a tariff was preferable over a quota because duties generate revenues for the government while quotas benefit importers; and tariffs are universal while quotas are discretionary which makes it more vulnerable to corruption.

Monsod said that even with a 35 percent tariff, Thai rice imports would only cost P27 per kilo versus the P30 to P40 price range of local rice.

She said the Rice Tariffication Law has a safety net provision where rice tariffs would be used to raise a P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund every year to be distributed to farmers to improve their farming operations or shift to higher value crops.

She said the Law empowered the President to impose a special safeguard duty to protect local farmers from rice dumping. “The rice industry, dying of neglect as a result of this law? Nothing can be further from the truth,” Monsod said,

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