Duterte orders "unimpeded importation of rice" to curb inflation
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered unimpeded importation of rice to curb high inflation, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte made the directive during the 30th Cabinet meeting on Monday night.
"The President ordered the unimpeded importation of rice. He wants to flood the market with rice so that even if the price of crude and other oil prices should go up still further, that the people will have access to affordable rice," he said.
He said anyone could now import rice as long as they pay the right tariffs and secure permits.
"There are no more restrictions," he said, noting that tariffs to be collected would be used to assist the Filipino farmers.
He said during the Cabinet meeting, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III presented that the main reasons for rising inflation were due to increasing prices of food and non-food items, such as tobacco and oil.
With the President's order, Roque said state-run National Food Authority would no longer limit the volume of rice to be imported either by the government or private sector.
"With the President’s directive, the NFA no longer has any say on how much rice should be imported; anyone who can afford it and will pay tariffs will be allowed to import rice," he said.
Before Duterte came out with the order, Roque admitted that the discussions were thorough.
"I think it suffices to say that there was a thorough discussion of the issue and after presenting all the issues, the President decided to liberalize, fully liberalize the importation of rice," Roque said.
He said there was no time frame as to until when the unimpeded rice importation would take place. Celerina Monte/DMS