Cebu Coop leader tells gov’t: Help our sector participate in rice importation

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo February 19,2019 - 02:37 PM

The government promises cheap rice for consumers by removing restrictions on importation volume. —INQUIRER PHOTOS

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A cooperative leader here is asking the government to help their sector participate in the importation of rice to prevent possible abuses by large-scale traders.

Erwin Goc-ong, chairman of the Cebu Market Vendors Cooperative (Cemvedco), said that the cooperative sector can help maintain check and balance in the prices of rice with the implementation of the tariff system starting on March 3.

“Ang ako lang diha basin og ma control sa pipila ka dagkong negosyante sa nasud ang pag import ug magkasinabot na sila sa presyo,” Goc-ong told Cebu Daily News Digital.

This can be prevented if cooperatives are allowed to participate in the importation of rice, he said.

“Unta tabangan sa gobyerno ang cooperative sector to combat ana and sa pag balance sa presyo. Ang mga cooperatives pod unta, labi na kadtong mga dagko, nga matagaan og tabang sa gobyerno para  makaapil sa importation pod para maka check and balance sa presyo,” Goc-ong added.

Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II said in an earlier interview that the Rice Tariffication Act (Republic Act No. 11203), which President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law last week, will impose tariffs on imported rice starting on  March 3 while at the same time removing its import quota.

A new tariff rate of 35 percent will be imposed if the rice was imported from a member country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations while 40 percent tariff will apply on those that are within the minimum access volume (MAV) of 350,000 metric tons and coming from a non-Asean country.

A 180 percent tariff will be imposed on imports that are already above the MAV and are coming from a non-Asean country.

The implementation of the new law is seen to flood the market with rice supply, thereby addressing the increasing  prices of rice.

House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in an interview with the Cebu media on Monday, said that the proceeds of the new law will go back to the local farmers through projects that will improve their competitiveness and productivity.

Goc-ong said that the benefits of lowering the prices of rice in the markets may be forfeited if only the large-scale traders will be given the opportunity to import rice from foreign countries.

“Sa akong nahibaw-an, kung mopalit ka og bugas sa gawas, diretso ka sa miller. Ang ako gud nga gikahadlokan kung ang mga dagko moingon didto nga paliton ko na ang bugas basta kay di ka mobaligya og negosyante sa Pilipinas nga mopalit lang og let’s say P20 million worth of rice. Mao na ang usa sa kabalaka nato,” said Goc-ong./dcb

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TAGS: Cebu‬, Cemvedco, coop, rice, tariffication

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