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House tackles bill to lower rice prices

THE House of Representatives will begin plenary debates this week on a bill that aims to lower the price of rice to below P30 a kilo.

Speaker Martin Romualdez said on Sunday that they would expedite debates on amendments to the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL) and have it passed on a second reading by May 15.

«We recognize the urgency of addressing the challenges faced by consumers due to high rice prices. Through these plenary debates, we are taking decisive action to bring about meaningful change and ease the financial strain on Filipino households,» Romualdez said.

Speaker Martin Romualdez

A statement from the House said the plenary debates will start once the measure is sponsored by the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, chaired by Quezon 1st District Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga.

The committee on May 7 approved the bill, a substitute for five others, subject to style and amendments.

«The substitute bill aims to bolster the competitiveness and resilience of the rice industry while ensuring affordable access to the essential staple for all Filipinos,» Romualdez said in a statement.


He said the aim was to have the RTL amended by July to lower rice prices to under P30 a kilo, thereby making rice more affordable for every Filipino family.

«By amending the RTL, we aim to bring about tangible reductions in rice prices, ensuring that Filipino consumers are not unduly burdened by high food costs,» he said.

«Lowering rice prices to less than P30 is a crucial step towards ensuring food security and economic stability for all,» he added.

On May 6, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he would certify the amendment of the RTL as urgent.


The RTL was signed into law in 2019, replacing quantitative restrictions on imported rice with tariffs and establishing the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund or RCEF.

However, the law also removed the National Food Authority's (NFA) power to intervene in the market.

The substitute bill seeks to restore the NFA's role in managing the country's rice supply chain under the proposed amended RTL.

The bill also grants temporary powers to the NFA in cases of price spikes or acute shortages.


The amended RTL