Gov’t urged to use excess rice tax to help farmers | Inquirer Business

Gov’t urged to use excess rice tax to help farmers

/ 05:02 AM October 05, 2019

About P700 million in “excess” revenues from tariffs on imported milled rice should be given through cash transfer to rice farmers who are reeling from low palay prices amid the influx of lower-priced grains, according to Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

Citing data from the Department of Finance, Pangilinan said in a statement the government had already collected P10.7 billion in rice duties as of Sept. 20.

The lawmaker said local rice farmers needed cash assistance in the transition to a liberalized regime in the rice industry.


And since there is already P700 million that was collected over the P10 billion needed to fund the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program, Pangilinan said the surplus collection could be allocated to rice farmers as cash assistance without a need to amend the Rice Tariffication Law.


Pangilinan also cited a study made by fellows at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies recommending an annual P15,000 cash assistance to rice farmers during the transition period.

He has also earlier pushed for a congressional Joint Resolution No. 2, which sought to amend the law and allow a P13-billion immediate cash assistance directly to rice farmers.

“In various hearings, farmers said they have been forced to sell their palay produce at a loss—as low as P7 per kilo when their production cost is P12 per kilo—due to an oversupply of imported rice in the local market,” Pangilinan said.

Earlier this week, the Senate also tackled Joint Resolution No. 8, which intends to ease the impact of liberalized rice importation and the subsequent influx of imported rice on local rice farmers.

The resolution instructs the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Food Authority in specified 11 provinces to buy directly from rice farmers for the October-to-December rice subsidy component of the conditional cash transfer program.

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TAGS: cash transfer, rice farmers

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