Shawne Marion Manalo

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved Executive Order (EO) 62 on June 20 to modify import tax rates on various products, including rice, to safeguard consumer supply flow.

Photos Courtesy of Alfred Frias/NIB-PNA/Manila Bulletin.

The EO will cut the tariff for rice from 35% to 15%, ultimately incentivizing foreign rice imports, until 2028.

The National Economic and Development Authority Board will review these import tax rates every four months to ensure fair prices.

This order is expected to stabilize market prices and address inflation concerns through foreign rice imports instead of local supply.

In response to concerns about the impact on local farmers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) clarified its continued support for domestic farmers.

“Again, ang priority pa rin natin ay local production,” DA Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa said against impressions from netizens that Marcos is setting aside local farmers through the import tax cuts.

Citing the estimation of the Philippine Statistics Authority, De Mesa also stated that cheaper imported rice could be expected starting in August this year.

“Kung titignan ang inflation basket, more than 50% ay food items. At doon, 23% ay rice. Kung ‘di ako nagkakamali, 1.5 percentage points ‘yung cost ng rice. Kung bababa siya nang six to seven pesos as earlier computed by the PSA, it will have a significant impact,” he added.

According to the agriculture agency, the prices will decrease by six to seven pesos in the future, which is still far off from the P20 per kilo rice price Marcos promised during his presidential campaign.