The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill exempting local producers from iodization of the salt they produce, distribute or trade.
With 287 "yes" votes, House Bill 8278 or the Philippine Salt Industry Development bill hurdles final reading. The measure classifies salt as an agricultural product and places it under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Likewise, the bill mandates the DA, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), to lead in the industry strengthening, expansion and promotion of the salt industry.
Other salient provisions of the bill include:
- mandatory utilization of public lands previously intended for fishpond development and those with existing fishpond lease agreements
- provision by the DA-BFAR of funding and technical support for the development and operation of salt farms
- provision of equipment and other necessary support to salt famers
- requiring that all salt produced or manufactured in the Philippines for export will be labeled as “Made in the Philippines” in a prominent and conspicuous manner on the product, its packaging, and accompanying documentation, and shall comply with the requirements of Consumer Act of the Philippines
- mandating administrative jurisdiction and management of salt farms and fishponds with salt farms under the DA-BFA
“This is to revitalize the salt industry by providing support services through appropriate technology and research, adequate financial, production, marketing, and other support services, in order to attain increased income for salt farmers, salt producers, and investors,” the committee report on the measure read.
“This is to achieve salt self-sufficiency, and become a net exporter of salt,” it added.
In addition, the bill provides the following incentives to investors in salt farm development and salt processing facilities:
- the Board of Investments will classify salt farms as preferred areas of investment under its Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) subject to pertinent rules and regulations
- the salt farmers and processors will be given priority to access credit assistance and guarantee schemes being granted by Government Finance Institutions (GFIs)
- the salt farm development and its equipment will be covered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation
—LDF, GMA Integrated News