Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has turned down his economic managers’ proposal to temporarily cut duties on rice imports amid spiraling prices.
In a Palace press release after his meeting with his Cabinet, Mr. Marcos said “it was not the right time to lower the tariff rates because the projection of world rice prices is that it will go down.”
The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) had proposed to cut the tariff rates to as low as 0% from 35%.
During the Tuesday meeting, NEDA Secretary Arsenio A. Balisacan and Agriculture Undersecretaries Leocadio Sebastian and Mercedita Sombilla “agreed that it was not the right time to lower tariff rates because of the downtrend of rice prices in the world market,” the presidential palace said.
At the meeting, the President said the executive order that set a price cap of PHP 45 a kilo for well-milled rice and PHP 41 for regular milled rice would remain in effect.
“Let’s study it carefully,” he said in Filipino, referring to his order that took effect on Sept. 5.
Mr. Marcos has been saying that the country has enough supply of rice, blaming smugglers and hoarders for increasing prices.
Philippine palay output hit 4.25 million metric tons (MT) in the second quarter from 4.2 million MT a year earlier. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza