Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol yesterday disputed former presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s statement that President Duterte had ordered the “unimpeded importation of rice,” saying such a policy is an “injustice” to Filipinos.
Geremy Pintolo/File
No ‘unimpeded’ rice importation, says Agriculture chief
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — What unimpeded importation of rice?

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol yesterday disputed former presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s statement that President Duterte had ordered the “unimpeded importation of rice,” saying such a policy is an “injustice” to Filipinos.

Piñol said Duterte never used the phrase “unimpeded importation of rice” to refer to his policy of liberalizing the importation of the staple and ensuring enough supply.

“You know, I do not want to discredit the statement of Secretary Roque, because I think it was Secretary Roque who used the words unimpeded importation... The President never used the term ‘unimpeded importation,’” Piñol said in a press briefing at Malacañang.

“Indeed, he said let’s flood the market with rice. But to say that importation will be unimpeded would mean like throwing away all of the rules in the book and allowing everybody to load rice in the boat and bring it to the Philippines,” he added.

Roque announced that Duterte had ordered the unimpeded importation of rice in a press briefing on Oct. 9.

Piñol said the pronouncement that the government has allowed the unimpeded importation of rice made farmers nervous.

“The President never used the word ‘unimpeded importation’ because that would be a disservice and injustice to the Filipino people,” he said.

Piñol clarified that groups who want to import rice still need to get clearance from the National Food Authority (NFA).

“You cannot just say that the NFA will have no more role in the importation because that would effectively throw away the mandate of the NFA into the wastebasket. We will just liberalize the importation but we will still follow processes,” he said.

Piñol said under the law, the NFA is responsible for accrediting importers.

“Full liberalization means you allow importation to come in but still based on guidelines prescribed by law.

Duterte has certified as urgent the passage of the rice tariffication bill, which aims to lift the quantitative restriction on rice and replace it with a tariff.

Supporters of the measure claimed it would solve artificial rice shortages, ensure enough supply and cut rice prices. 

EMMANUEL PIñOL NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY RICE
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with