Gov’t signs IRR of Rice Tariffication Law
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law has already been signed, formally liberalizing the importation, exportation, and trading of rice in the Philippines.
With the issuance of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 01-2019 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Budget and Management, the final draft of the IRR earlier approved by the National Food Authority (NFA) Council has already been adopted for implementation.
Among the salient provisions in the IRR are guidelines on the President’s powers and the enforcement of safeguard measures in case of emergency situations like the sudden rise and drop in domestic prices.
The IRR likewise provides guidance on the reorganization of the NFA, following the repeal of its regulatory powers and the change of its functions to maintenance and management of the country’s buffer stocks.
The NFA Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, is set to commission a study that will determine NFA’s optimal buffer stock for emergency and relief purposes.
Prior to the completion of the study, the NFA will continue to maintain its current buffer stock level ranging from 15 to 30 days based on a daily national rice consumption of 32,593 metric tons per day.
The IRR paves the way for the creation and release of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which aims to ease the impact of liberalization to Filipino farmers.
RCEF will be tapped to provide direct financial assistance to rice farmers adversely affected by the new rice import regime.
“While the IRR takes effect 15 days after its publication, self-executing provisions of the law are now being enforced,” NEDA noted.
Under the new law, the only requirement to import and trade rice is the phytosanitary import clearance (SPSIC), which can be obtained from DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry.