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Claim on Pangilinan's role in rice tariff law misleads


A Facebook post that Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan “helped in making” Republic Act 11203, the Rice Tariffication Law, is misleading.


FB page Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan said in its Nov. 12 post:

Nakalimutan yata ni Sen. Kiko na yng unli (Sen. Kiko has probably forgotten that the unlimited) importations are made possible by the Rice Tarrification law, which HE HIMSELF helped in making
Wag hanash (Stop lying), Sen. Kiko. Take responsibility.

The post shared a link to a 2018 news article from website Politiko on the Senate’s approval of the Rice Tariffication Bill.


It also quoted Pangilinan’s Nov. 11 statement on the rice crisis in which he said:

We should all be deeply worried by the news that the Philippines has surpassed China as the world’s biggest importer of rice…
Ano ang mangyayari sa atin kapag hindi tayo binentahan ng bigas ng ibang bansa? Literally, nganga (What will happen to us if other countries will stop selling rice to us? Literally, nothing).

Signed into law last Feb. 14, the Rice Tariffication Bill was authored by senators Ralph Recto, Leila De Lima, Joel Villanueva, Risa Hontiveros, Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar.


Pangilinan was not a co-author.


He only interpellated the bill’s proponents in a plenary session on Sept. 19, 2018 during which he proposed several amendments to the bill such as the role of the National Food Authority (NFA) on the issuance of import clearance and license on rice retail business.


The bill was approved on the third reading on Nov. 14 that year, with a 14-0-0 vote. Pangilinan did not vote; he was not present when the roll call for the voting was made.


Pangilinan’s proposed amendments on the income of farmers as the primary focus of the program were also approved during the session. He emphasized:

The interventions, in the end, should lead to better incomes of our farmers. Otherwise, what is the point of putting all these interventions when the farmers remain poor. And the best determinant of whether or not the interventions are effective, is if they are earning more.

In his Nov. 11 statement, Pangilinan proposed measures to protect rice farmers impacted by rice imports. His call:

Provide cash assistance to help our farmers through these lean times. Raise the tariff for rice imports. Immediate and proper use of RCEF for mechanization and increased productivity. Correctly implement the Sagip Saka Act to increase the incomes of our farmers ASAP.

The Rice Tariff Law mandates the establishment of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which guarantees the rice sector P10 billion in financial support for the next six years starting 2019.


Meanwhile, the Sagip Saka Act “aims to strengthen and transform the agricultural and fishing communities to reach their full potential, improving the farmers and fisherfolk incomes and quality of life.”


Crowdtangle data show the FB post has received a total of 7,682 interactions, 5,500 reactions, 1,113 comments, and 634 shares. (MC, JGL, HP)


References


Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan. Timeline [Facebook page]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/luciferouslogophile/photos/a.411894925817628/1034785586861889/?type=3


Official Gazette. (2018, July 23). Republic Act No. 11203. Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2019/02feb/20190214-RA-11203-RRD.pdf


Official Gazette. (2019, April 17). Republic Act No. 11321. Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2019/04apr/20190417-RA-11321-RRD.pdf


Senate of the Philippines. (2018, September 19). Journal No. 22. Retrieved from http://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/2867625127!.pdf


Senate of the Philippines. (2018, November 14). Senate Session No. 34 (November 14, 2018) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVVHu4rlfGg&t=5879s


Senate of the Philippines. (2018, September 11). Committee Report no. 440. Retrieved from http://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/2859024983!.pdf


Senate of the Philippines. (2018, November 14). Journal No. 34. Retrieved from https://senate.gov.ph/lisdata/2899025538!.pdf


Senate of the Philippines. (2019, November 11). PH surpassing China as world's biggest rice importer worrisome: Pangilinan. Retrieved from https://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/1111_pangilinan1.asp