June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Hataman welcomes plan to cut rice tariff rates to tame high prices

“Ang bigas ay buhay para sa ating mga Pilipino. At kung napakamahal nito at iilan na lamang sa ating mga mamamayan ang may kakayahang bumili, malaki ang problema ng bansa natin.”

This was the statement made by House Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, as he welcomed a Palace decision to reduce tariff rates on rice as a means to tame inflation and arrest the continuing rise of the prices of basic commodities.

“For me, rice is supposed to be somewhat of a great equalizer. This is a Filipino staple. Mayaman o mahirap man, parehong may kanin sa hapag-kainan. Pero sa panahon natin ngayon, hindi na kayang abutin ng mahihirap na pamilyang Pilipino ang presyo ng bigas at iba pang pagkain,” Hataman expressed.

“This is why we welcome the executive order being prepared to reduce the tariff rates on rice and other commodities, as this also aims to reduce the price of rice in the market. Dalangin lang natin ay sana magbunga agad ang aksyon na ito at mapababa ang presyo ng bigas para maabot ng mas nakararami sa ating mga kababayan,” he further said.

The board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), chaired by President Bongbong Marcos Jr., has approved cutting the tariff on rice to 15 percent from 35 percent, intending to bring down its price to P29 a kilo for poor Filipinos.

“Sana nga ito ay magresulta sa pagbaba ng presyo ng bigas. Ang bigas dapat ay kayang abutin ng poorest of the poor. Kung hindi nila abot ang presyo nito, ano pa ang kaya nilang bilhin?” said Hataman.

An executive order is also reportedly being prepared to effect the changes in tariff rates, which will cover 2024 to 2028.

“Ayon sa mga ulat, halos kalahati raw ng inflation rate natin ay galing sa rice inflation, kasi marami ang naniniwala na kapag mataas ang presyo ng bigas, sumusunod dito ang maraming presyo ng bilihin tulad ng gulay, isda o pangunahing mga pagkain sa merkado,” Hataman explained.

“This is why I am hopeful that the reduction of the tariff rates will have a significant impact on the high price of rice. Hindi na kaya ng nakararami ang lagpas P50 kada kilo ng bigas. People need relief and they need it now,” he continued. 

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that April’s inflation rate is at 3.8 percent, of which nearly half or 1.75 percentage points is because of rice.

NEDA Sec. Arsenio Balisacan said the government is optimistic the move to lower tariff rates could bring down the price of rice to as low as P29 a kilo.