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DOF clarifies: Rice Tariffication Law to take effect March 5

The Rice Tariffication Law will take effect on March 5, two days later than earlier announced, the Department of Finance (DOF) clarified Tuesday.

According to Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Joselito "Tony" Lambino II, the law is set to take place on March 5, a Tuesday.

"Ang napakahalaga po nito ay pinirmahan na po ni President Duterte no'ng February 14. And so if we count from the data of publication, which was Feb. 18 on the Official Gazette's website, then the Rice Tariffication Law, the main parts of it, come into effect on March 5 of 2019," he said.

The DOF earlier said that the Rice Tariffication Law is scheduled to start on March 3, a Sunday.

Lambino said that the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, during its meeting on Monday, assumed that the publication of the law was done on February 15 which was why it said the law would take effect March 3.

The NFA Council met on Monday morning to start fine-tuning the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the rice tariffication law.

The meeting came as Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo last week confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the measure that would effectively impose a 35-percent tariff on imports from neighbors in Southeast Asia.

The measure allows unlimited importation of rice as long as private sector traders secure a phytosanitary permit from the Bureau of Plant Industry and pay the 35-percent tariff for shipments from neighbors in Southeast Asia.

The law earmarks P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, of which P5 billion will be allotted to farm mechanization and P3 billion to seedlings. The fund intends to ensure that rice imports won’t drown out the agriculture sector and rob farmers of their livelihood. — MDM, GMA News