THE budget for developing the salt industry is P100 million until next year, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) told a House committee.
“We have funds (for salt development of) around a hundred million (for) this year and next year,” BFAR Planning Officer III Lainie Baraocor told the House North Luzon Quadrangle committee.
Pangasinan Rep. Christopher V.P. De Venecia called for more funding for the industry, especially in the Ilocos region, which received P10 million in 2023.
“Maybe we can work on augmenting that,” he said, noting that salt making could be an alternative livelihood for fisherfolk.
“We are proposing that this (funding) be enhanced in the next three to five years as a medium-term plan of the Bureau,” Ms. Baraocor said.
She said the BFAR is working with the Department of Agriculture’s National Fisheries Research and Development Institute to conduct studies on domestic and imported sources of salt.
“We need baseline data on the status of existing salt producers,” Ms. Baraocor told the committee.
Republic Act No. 8172 or the ASIN (An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide) Law was signed in 1995 to promote the use of iodized salt, aimed at addressing micronutrient malnutrition, particularly iodine deficiency disorders.
The law has been blamed for the decline of domestic salt production. “We can’t export our iodized salt because no one wants it,” Mr. De Venecia said.
A salt industry bill, which seeks to address this problem, only needs one more round of votes in the Senate to clear Congress. The House approved a similar measure on May 29.
It is one of the 20 priority measures that Congress aims to pass in its second regular session. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz