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Delay seen in implementation of rice tariff cuts

MANILA, Philippines — The implementation of reduced tariffs on rice is expected after the National Printing Office said Executive Order  (EO) 62 would be published only today due to the measure’s “voluminous pages.”

“This is scheduled for publication on July 1, 2024 (supplemental issue), which consists of 463 pages. Said EO cannot be included in the regular issue of the Official Gazette because of voluminous pages,” acting NPO Official Gazette publication section head Elisa Villa Agustin said in a letter to Rosendo So, chairman of farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag).

EO 62, issued on June 21 by President Marcos, modified the nomenclature and rates of import duties on various products, including rice, for 2024-2028.

Tariffs would be reduced to 15 percent from the current 35 percent, effective until 2028.

The certified true copy of EO 62 will be used as basis to file a temporary restraining order before the Supreme Court, according to Sinag.

“The said certification will be issued after the publication,” Agustin said.

The Bureau of Customs would be charged before the ombudsman if it implements EO 62 on July 6, So said.

“More violations will be committed in the implementation of EO 62 as when we asked the NPO for a copy, it said it has yet to be published so it means it cannot be effective on July 6. If the Bureau of Customs will implement (EO 62), we will charge the BOC before the ombudsman, together with the National Economic and Development Authority and Tariff Commission,” So noted.

“If it will be published on July 1, it should be plus 15 days before its effectivity. The July 6 (implementation of EO 62) is already a legal blunder of NEDA,” Sinag executive director Jayson Cainglet told The STAR.

“It is possible that we will file the TRO on July 3,” he added.