MANILA, Philippines – The government is expecting imported rice to enter the country more quickly under Republic Act (RA) No. 11203 or the rice tariffication law, which streamlines the importation process.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a press briefing on Monday, April 29, pointed to the exclusion of the National Food Authority (NFA) from the importation process, as the agency's role has been limited to buffer stocking.
"[Before] 'di mo masabi kung one week or two weeks kung makakuha ng import permit sa NFA, kung papayagan ka mag-import," he said.
(Before, you couldn't say if in one week or two weeks you'd be able to get an import permit from the NFA, or if you would even be allowed to import at all.)
Lopez also noted that the only permit needed is the sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry.
"The rest is really the usual importation procedure and the shipment, kaya kung tutuusin, 3 weeks, 4 weeks nandiyan na ang bigas," he said.
(The rest is really the usual importation procedure and the shipment so really, in 3 weeks or 4 weeks, the rice would already arrive here.)
Socioeconomic Planning Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla also said that it previously took 2 to 3 months to import under the government-to-private sector scheme.
"So [the new scheme is] very, much faster than what was experienced when NFA was giving the licenses to import," she added.
Under the draft process on milled rice importation, the application for an importation permit will only take 28 days, if registration with the Philippine International Trading Corporation is not included.
LOOK draft of how the milled rice importation process will go | @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/eKXDDunzyD — Anna Mogato (@AGAMogato) April 29, 2019
Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan also said that with the passage of RA No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act, "the whole process from accreditation to importation" would be streamlined.
Trade Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group Ruth Castelo added that RA No. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 states that simple transactions should be processed within a maximum of 3 days.