House bill aims to revitalize local salt industry

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
House bill aims to revitalize local salt industry
A salt storage worker from Kawit, Cavite shared that a sack of salt now costs P200 to P300. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said on Monday that the country is facing shortage on the salt supply.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — A senior administration lawmaker has filed a bill in the House of Representatives that aims to revitalize the country’s salt industry through a “comprehensive salt industry development program” that will do away with massive salt importation.

Rep. Ron Salo of party-list Kabayan, chairman of the House committee on overseas workers affairs, authored and sponsored House Bill 1976 in an attempt to make the Philippines self-sufficient in salt production.

“This bill is a product of numerous consultations with various stakeholders – salt farmers, salt producers, and even representatives from agencies. We have carefully studied and crafted this bill, bearing in mind first and foremost the needs of our local farmers,” he said.

Salo highlighted the classic irony where the Philippines imports around 93 percent of the country’s salt requirement, despite having 36,000 kilometers of shoreline – the fifth longest shoreline in the world – that can be utilized for massive salt production.

“I am glad to sponsor our proposed salt industry bill. This has been one of my advocacies since the 17th Congress; and now in the 19th Congress, the issues of the salt industry are at last put into the limelight,” he said.

HB 1976 tasks the government to provide technical, physical and financial assistance to sea salt farmers, including artisanal salt farmers, to develop and improve their craft.

It also mandates the government to invest in the identification and construction of salt farms for lease to qualified salt farmers, whether individuals, cooperatives, or corporations.

Salo attributed the country’s heavy dependence on imports to “an outdated policy regime, low quality control and product improvement, limited development of new production areas, unattractive business environment for small enterprises and lack of new investments.”

Businessman Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who attended a recent hearing on the issue, heaped praises on the filing of the bill, saying that “it is a bill that you don’t expect any opposition.”

Salo is optimistic that support from key stakeholders will further push the measure.

Those who manifested their support and will be providing the House committee on agriculture and food position papers were the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Cooperative Development Authority, and Department of Science and Technology.

Other representatives who also showed support included Reps. Richard Gomez (Leyte), Gerville Luistro (Batangas) and France Castro (ACT Teachers party-list).

Rep. Wilbert Lee (Agri party-list) filed his own version of the bill.

“I’m very pleased that I now have a co-champion in the revitalization of the salt industry. With the chairperson, Rep. Lee, and the other members of the committee, I am not anymore a lone voice in the wilderness calling for the development of the salt industry,” Salo said.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with