THE League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) lauded the Department of Finance (DOF) for pushing the enactment of the law liberalizing rice imports, saying the law provided a “huge benefit” for their respective constituents.
In a manifesto, the umbrella organization of city mayors across the country said that since Republic Act 11203—or the rice liberalization law—took effect last March, the average retail cost of rice has dropped by at least P7 per kilo or 20 percent less than last year’s peak rates.
“We in the [LCP] have seen the huge benefit of this law to our respective constituencies who now enjoy more affordable prices of rice,” the group said in the manifesto signed by the organization’s national chairman, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.
“In this regard, the efforts of Dominguez, the [DOF], and the rest of the country’s economic team should not go unnoticed,” said the LCP, which has 145 city mayors as members.
The rice liberalization law was approved, signed and implemented at the time when the country’s inflation rate accelerated due to the confluence of higher prices in food and oil prices, as well as the interjection of second round effects.
In 2018, when prices were continuously rising above the government’s 2 percent to 4 percent target range, President Duterte ordered the implementation of nonmonetary measures to ease food supply bottlenecks.
Following the implementation of the rice tariffication law, as well as the decline of prices in other segments, the country’s inflation rate has also fallen significantly last June—from a high of 6.7 percent in September and October 2018 to 2.4 percent in July 2019.
Dominguez has described the rice liberalization law on the shift from quantitative restrictions to tariffs on rice imports as a “proud” accomplishment of the Duterte presidency and the DOF, given that it took more than 30 years under various administrations to get the Congress to approve this game-changing reform.