Party-list solon urges Senate to act on measure revitalizing salt industry to help create 100,000 jobs
MANILA, Philippines — Bicol Saro Party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan has urged the Senate to expedite the approval of its counterpart measure aimed at revitalizing the country’s salt industry in order to generate approximately 100,000 jobs in the agriculture sector.
Yamsuan’s appeal comes after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved House Bill (HB) 8278, also known as the proposed Philippine Salt Industry Development Act, on its third and final reading last week.
HB 8278, for which Yamsuan is one of the principal authors, seeks to establish a comprehensive plan for the salt industry to increase domestic production and attract investments in the sector.
Referring to a statement from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Yamsuan stated that the development of a roadmap for the salt industry would create 20,000 direct jobs and an additional 80,000 indirect or related jobs in the agriculture sector.
“However, we can only achieve this goal if we have substantial funding to assist our salt farmers in accessing the technology and equipment necessary to boost production. That is why we are urging the Senate to swiftly act on its counterpart measure for the revival of our salt industry once Congress resumes its session next month,” Yamsuan said.
Aside from Yamsuan, the other principal authors of HB 8278 include Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative and National Unity Party (NUP) president LRay Villafuerte, 5th District Representative Migz Villafuerte, 1st District Representative Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata, all from Camarines Sur, Benguet Representative Eric Yap, Agri Partylist Representative Wilbert Lee, Kabayan Partylist Representative Ron Salo, and Pangasinan 5th District Representative Ramon Guico Jr.
The bill has been included among the priority measures of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
Yamsuan emphasized that in addition to modernizing the industry, salt producers also need to expand their market connections in order to promote Philippine salt both domestically and internationally, not only as a food flavoring but also as a crucial element in various industries.
“As an archipelagic country, we have an extensive coastline that can be utilized for salt production. Unfortunately, instead of harnessing this natural advantage for the development of the salt industry, our salt production has significantly declined, and we have been importing 93 percent of our salt requirements in recent years,” Yamsuan said.
Under the House-approved measure, salt, whether processed or unprocessed, is classified as a basic agricultural product, carrying all the necessary legal and regulatory implications.
HB 8278 establishes the Philippine Salt Industry Development Council (PSIDC), which is responsible for formulating the Philippine Salt Industry Development Roadmap.
The roadmap outlines short-term, medium-term, and long-term development plans to accelerate the modernization and industrialization of the salt industry.
Through the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the PSIDC will also establish new small-scale artisanal salt farms.
The PSIDC will also provide development funds, technical assistance, and equipment to salt farmers and the industry, among other functions.