By Jan Jireh Suelo, Arman Davis Pehid andErfem Donasco


Rice is considered to be the staple food in the Philippines hence, Filipinos are deemed to consume at least 118 kilograms of rice annually.  This basically means that as an average, Filipinos ingest about 325 grams of rice on a daily basis.. 

In order to provide and sustain this need of the Filipinos, the government have always been supporting the rice sector in the country and acknowledges their vital role in the nation’s economic growth. Furthermore, in order to ensure this governmental objective, the government have continuously supported our local rice farmers in order to maintain the sustainability of rice production in the country. 

These measures of the government is apparent especially last year.  Despite the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic that have caught off guard the entire world, the Department of Agriculture have “recorded the highest rice production level at 19.44 million metric tons in 2020.”  This number manifests the government’s aim to protect the sustenance of the production of rice in the country.


One of the major industries in the Philippines is the rice sector.  Rice is the country’s most important staple crop. Philippines, as a result thereof, is considered to be the eighth leading country in terms of production of milled rice for the year 2019 – 2020.

As stated in Article XII, section 1 paragraph 2, “The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets.”  Thus, the government, in their continuous pursuit of promoting the agricultural sector in the country, have taken measures to protect the interests of these sectors most especially the farmers, to make them locally and globally competitive.

Republic Act No. 11203, also known as the “An Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice, and For Other Purposes.” 

The aforementioned Act aims to “ensure food security and to make the country’s agricultural sector viable, effective and globally competitive.” 

After the said enactment of the law, questions as to its pros and cons to the rice industry, more importantly farmers, have risen and have been subjected to criticisms in the national scale. 


The study aims to weigh the pros and cons of the enactment of the Republic Act 11203 to local rice farmers situated in Negros Occidental.

The researches aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • The pros and cons of R.A. 11203 in the production of rice of local farmers in Negros Occidental;
  • To identify the decrease and increase in the local rice production vis-a-vis imported rice products.
  • The impact of Republic Act 11203 in the lives of local rice farmers in Negros Occidental.


The study will mainly focus on the pros and cons of the passage of Republic Act 11203 to the production and lives of local farmers.

Subsequently, the study covers local rice farmers situated in the province of Negros Occidental in the Visayas Region.

The study, furthermore, will not go beyond the understanding behind the passing of Republic Act 11203 but will primarily focus on its impact and effects.


Research Design

The group will be using a qualitative research design and conduct a systematic objective to explore the complexity, effectiveness and further the rationale behind certain phenomena.

As mentioned by Creswell, researchers should explore and bring about understanding by using different theoretical approaches in conducting a research (Creswell, 2014).  Applying this qualitative research design is crucial in connecting the the dots between research problems and achieving the desired research objectives.

This design is achieved through a step by step process which includes data collection and analysis of the same gathered information.

Sources and Instruments

The researchers used the official copy of Republic Act 11203 which is officially published and available in the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, which will be the primary source of information for the research.

Furthermore, in order to achieve the desired objectives, the researchers will gather and process reliable data gathered from official and legitimate websites as a secondary source for the research.

The researchers will use a questionnaire for data gathering that will ask the participant rice farmers as to the effect of the passing of the aforementioned law.


For data collection, the following steps were done by the researchers:

  1. Secured a copy of RA 11203.
  2. Searched for reliable and legitimate news articles related to the topic.
  3. Filtered these sources and took notes and emphasis on the most relevant data as regards the topic.

For the data gathering through questionnaires, the following steps were conducted by the researchers:

  1. Screened the participants to the research who are local rice farmers in the province of Negros Occidental.
  2. Sent a formal letter of requests to these participants to have them answer the questionnaires at their most convenient time.
  3. Set appointments and gave the questionnaire to the participants.
  4. Collected and recorded the data gathered.

Results And Discussion

The enactment of the Rice Tarrification Law was bitterly opposed by all farmer organizations. Their main criticism: the rice tariffication law gives up the power of the government to protect the rice industry, especially the small rice farmers which according to studies, numbering 2.5 million. 

Survey also revealed that the said law downsized the National Food Authority (NFA) and limited its role to “buffer stocking” for emergency situations and disaster relief.  It removes the various regulatory powers of the NFA, from import licensing to warehouse inspection. This means big private importers can now import any volume of cheap rice and dump this in the domestic market without worrying on the situation of the Filipino rice farmers, millers and town traders.   

The passage of the law resulted to the collapse of palay prices around the country.  Palay farm gate prices went down to as low as P8-P10 a kilo, well below the estimated production cost of P12 a kilo. An increasing number of palay producers are even contemplating the idea of giving up rice farming and selling their lands.

Even the government made efforts such as buying locally-produced palay which somehow boosted palay prices to rise to P14-P15 a kilo, this, however, is still low compared to the P19-P21 a kilo before the enactment of the law.  If the labor of the rice farmer is given value based on the equivalent minimum wage in a given rice-producing region, rice farming easily becomes a losing proposition.

Overall, rice farmers are angry and furious at the Rice Tariffication Law  Farmer organizations in the country are still agitating for a repeal or reform of the said law. Specifically, they want the government’s role in rice procurement and trade be restored and strengthened. They also want  an alternative “rice road map” crafted based on joint and transparent government-farmer dialogue-consultation and planning.


The road map should include the formulation of “equalizing incentives” to Filipino rice farmers such as the adoption of support programs extended by other countries to their rice farmers.  For example, the governments of China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam all intervene heavily in rice production and international/domestic rice trade, to shield their palay farmers  from market volatility and production losses.  Thailand alone spends roughly $2 billion a year as subsidy, in the form of price support, to their palay producers.  

Hence, we are recommending that the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund should be re-organized and should re-focus on agricultural credit and insurance, both of which are badly needed in agriculture. Also note the inadequacy of the RCEF fund given the fact that the palay production sector is worth at least several hundred billion pesos.  Finally, the country needs better agricultural and economic officials with 20-20 vision.  The country needs officials who have the backbone to assert the survival and growth of local industries, especially industries involving millions of small producers.  



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