MANILA — Voting 287-0, the House of Representatives has approved House Bill 8278 or the "Philippine Salt Industry Development Act," on Third and Final Reading.
The measure is one of the priority bills of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as listed by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
"The significance of the salt industry hasn't been lost on our President and concurrent Department of Agriculture (DA) chief Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. He knows that we need to correct the sad irony that the country imports nearly 550,000 metric tons (MT) or 93 percent of its requirement for salt. This is indeed a sin," Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.
The Speaker's office explained that under the measure, salt, whether unprocessed or processed, shall be classified as a basic agricultural product with all its necessary legal and regulatory implications.
"The DA shall also ensure that salt is a priority commodity to be produced locally in areas or regions identified in this Act, as well as in the development plan for the salt industry," the bill read.
It also explained that HB 8278 creates the Philippine Salt Industry Development Council (PSIDC), which seeks to ensure the unified and integrated implementation of the roadmap and accelerate the modernization and industrialization of the Philippine salt industry. This agency is tasked to formulate the Philippine Salt Industry Development Roadmap containing the short-term, medium-term, and long-term development plan. Likewise, it is meant to identify specific and priority programs and projects in support of, and in line with the Roadmap.
Through the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), It is also tasked to put up new small scale artisanal salt farms.
The speaker office also explained that the bill will establish an Agri-Insurance Program for salt producers, as well as parameters and guidelines when domestically-produced salt may
be subjected to mandatory salt iodization under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 8172, otherwise known as “An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN)".
Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron P. Salo, the principal author of the bill welcomed its approval.
“I am extremely grateful to the House Leadership, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, and to President Bongbong Marcos for their unwavering support and commitment to the progress of the Philippine Salt Industry Development Bill. The inclusion of this bill as one of the priority measures in the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) underscores the government's recognition of the immense potential and significance of the salt industry in our country,” Salo said in a statement.
“The approval of this bill is a testament to the transformative paradigm shift from regulatory to developmental policies in the salt industry. I also extend my deepest appreciation to Chair Mark Enverga and my colleagues in Congress for their support in the vision of this bill," Saldo also said.
“With its imminent consideration in the Senate and its inclusion as one of the priority measures of the LEDAC by President Bongbong Marcos, we are confident that this bill will soon be enacted into law," Salo added.
"This achievement reflects our shared vision of fostering a vibrant salt industry, generating employment opportunities, and advancing the overall welfare of our people. I urge all stakeholders to embrace this paradigm shift and actively participate in the eventual passage and implementation of this bill," Salo concluded.
The House will submit the bill to the Senate for action.