Senatorial aspirant and former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol bared the need to amend the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL) to protect local producers from rampant rice importation.
Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tarrification Law was enacted last February 14, 2019, that liberalized the importation, exportation, and trading of rice.
The RTL also lifted the quantitative import restriction on rice.
“We have to grow our own food and to do that, we have to amend the Rice Tarrification Law. We have to pass enabling laws so that our local producers will be protected,” Piñol said in an interview over DZMM Teleradyo on November 30.
The senatorial aspirant for next year’s polls also recognized that the country is facing a food problem.
“We have a problem with food. We should not be dependent on foreign sources for food. I agree with what the farmer said that we need to protect the local farmers because if the price continues to increase worldwide, we cannot afford imported food anymore,” Piñol said.
He added that the current food problem and the burdens the rice farmers face due to the effects of the RTL are among the reasons why he decided to run for the Senate.
“I am offering myself to serve the Senate with a head full of ideas on how to reform our policies and our legislation to protect our farmers and achieve food sufficiency,” Piñol said.
Meanwhile, when asked about the committee he wanted to run when given a chance for a Senate seat, he said he wanted to be the chair of the Committee on Agriculture.
“That is my forte and with that [committee], I can be of help to the local farmers and support local food production program. We will change the oppressive laws that are not helpful for our production increase like the RTL which I would like to amend if given a chance of serving as Senator,” Piñol said.
If given the chance to serve at the Senate, the former agriculture chief said amending the RTL would be his first legislative agenda. (NW)