Good morning!

It is an honor and great pride for me to speak before you in this consultation.

I would like to commend everyone here who joined us today for your unceasing commitment. That many of you travel long distances which reminds us how important our work is.

We have come here today as a response to the challenge affecting our country’s most important staple crop – rice.

In 1995, the World Trade Organization allowed the Philippines to impose a 10-year quota system for rice importation. This special treatment on rice expired in 2005 but the government requested for QR extension to retain protection until 2012. And as we all know, the WTO allowed extending the rice QR until June 30, 2017.

2017 is fast-approaching. Should the Philippines request for another QR extension or tarrify?

The primary focus of this forum is to propose policy recommendations on which option the government may take relative to the rice quantitative restrictions in our country.

However, there are still advantages and consequences that we need to consider. Taking into account both pros and cons, it may affect our rice, importation and farmers.

With this current situation, the Department of Agriculture, through the collective efforts of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, the Policy Research Service, and the National Rice Program, agreed to intensify the department’s information campaign in anticipation of the QR expiration.

In order to achieve this, an extensive review and comprehensive recommendations from all of you here are needed to address the challenge that we are facing today.

Let us continue to commit to our ongoing efforts to improve the situation of the Philippines’ rice industry.

This is a critical event for us because as a developing country, we also need to counterbalance the advantages and disadvantages of the decision that we will pursue.

Again, I am encouraging everyone here to participate in the discussions and raise your concerns so we can develop a more specific and stronger stand about the agreement.

As the new OIC Director of PCAF, I am sincerely asking for your assistance to lend your technical expertise on this matter.

I am looking forward to working with all of you here. Let’s be partners in crafting sound and relevant policies that would really create a big impact in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

Crafting a sound policy particularly on rice QR will definitely start here today. Surely, our united effort will all lead to strengthening of the Philippine rice industry.

In behalf of PCAF, the lead policy making body for agriculture and fishery of the DA, thank you for your presence today and I look forward to the positive and far-reaching result of this undertaking.


Date: September 28, 2016
Venue: Hotel Rembrandt, Quezon City