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Rice Tariffication Law / Rice Liberalization Law/ RA 11203

It was in February last year when our current President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law
the Republic Act 11203 or what we are more familiar as Rice Tariffication or Rice Liberalization
Law. So, in remembrance of this new rule that promised our Filipino farmers a better life, let’s
have a review of what this law is all about.
By the last quarter of the year 2018, the Philippines had been in a difficult situation when
the price of rice hit an incredible increase and Filipino consumers needed to carry this burden.
This prompted the RA 11203 which principally authored by Senator Cynthia Villar.
Rice Tariffication Law aims to amend the 24-year old law which is the RA 8178 or the
Agricultural Tariffication Act that imposes tariff to agricultural products except from rice into a
law that imposed tariffs.
In 1995, the Philippines, became a nation member of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) and is given a special treatment to maintain its Quantitative Restriction (QR) on rice
which limits the entry of imported rice to the country. It was extended up to 2005 and later on
extended until 2012 upon the country’s request and eventually, as the Philippines received the
waiver, extended until June 30, 2017.
But why the Philippines been wanting to extend the Quantitative Restriction?
The membership of the Philippines to WTO is a way to reduce the impact of expected influx of
cheap rice imports. With the QR being retained, our local rice farmers or the Filipino farmers
will be given a chance to make themselves completely prepared from the possible increase in
competition of rice and with this, domestic rice will be protected. In addition, they will be able to
keep the income in rice farming still attractive thus encouraging more farmers and lastly, by
2020, be rice self-sufficient.
However, by allowing QR to be effective, high inflation rate will also be retained and
consumers will continue to carry the burden of overpriced rice which is definitely a “NO” for all
of us.
Under the Rice Tariffication Law, QR will be replaced by a general tariff. Rice imports
from the ASEAN countries will need to provide 35% tariff and 40% for those Non-ASEAN.
And how this law would help not just the consumers but also our local farmers?
Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or RCEF under the new law. It said that the
collected tariffs will be utilized as fund for mass irrigation, warehousing, and rice research to hep
our local farmers and the rice industry. Furthermore, there will also be Financial Assistance
Program that will be given to the farmers.
In spite of these there are narratives that lies behind the implemented law that tells a
completely different story. This is why the law should be rightly implemented making each one
of us benefiting from it especially the Filipino farmers. Because indeed, planting rice is not a

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