MANILA - Some of the Philippines' most influential business groups on Monday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the Rice Tariffication Bill, saying this will ensure the country's food security.
"The Bill is now with Malacañang and we urge the President to sign it into law," the groups said in a statement.
The business groups, which include the Makati Business Club, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, and the Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, said rice tariffication will be beneficial to both farmers and consumers.
The groups said the proposed measure intends "to decisively and quickly address the rice supply disruption problem and concomitant high prices experienced last year to the detriment of consumers."
Removing import restrictions will help stabilize supply and prices, while the 35 percent import tariff duty will protect farmers from unfair competition, the groups said.
The Senate said last week the Bill had already been sent to Duterte and was just waiting for his signature.
Duterte certified the bill as urgent in October last year, as the country's inflation quickened to its fastest pace in nearly a decade as food costs, particularly the price of rice, surged.