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Monday, May 27, 2024

Law says LGUs should have task force to survey salt farming and processing

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Local government units (LGUs) will soon have to put up their own task force to regularly survey existing salt farming and processing enterprises as contained in Republic Act (RA) 11985 or the
Philippine Industry Salt Development Act.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte also said this will help the national government identify areas appropriate for salt production in their respective localities.

Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party and author of the law, said RA 11985 which was recently signed by President Marcos bestows upon   LGUs a major role in “the fresh government effort to revitalize this moribund industry, in a bid to bail out its farmers, reverse anemic production and eventually turn this nutrient into an export earner.”

He said that RA11985 mandates LGUs to put up their own Salt Industry Development Task Forces (Salt Task Forces) that shall regularly conduct a survey of existing salt farms and salt processing enterprises in their respective localities, “in support of the proposed five-year masterplan to expand areas devoted to salt-making, boost domestic salt output, promote investments in this sector and market Philippine products made from this essential nutrient.”

This law states that in cooperation with five government agencies,   the LGUs shall identify appropriate areas for local salt production in their respective localities, Villafuerte said.

These agencies are the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and its National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through its regional offices.

In pursuit of this law, Villafuerte said the BFAR and DENR, through its appropriate bureaus and its attached agency, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), are directed to map out, identify, and designate public lands, including portions of municipal waters, as salt production areas.

Cognizant of the key role that local governments are to play in the Marcos administration’s program to revive the dying salt industry, Villafuerte said that three LGU organizations   are to be represented in the multisectoral Philippine Salt Industry Development Council (Salt Council), which RA 11985 has assigned the job of crafting the five-year masterplan for the salt industry and accelerating this sector’s modernization and industrialization.

Under the law, three of the members of this would-be Salt Council shall be members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), League of Cities of the Philippines LCP, and League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) representing salt-producing areas.

He noted that the supervision of public lands to be identified by the LGUs and the concerned government agencies as suitable for salt production is transferred by the law from the DENR to the BFAR within 90 days from RA 11985’s effectivity.

The DENR shall “transfer public lands mapped out, identified, and designated as suitable for salt production under its administrative jurisdiction to BFAR,” the law states.

Consistent with the five-year plan, Villafuerte said the BFAR, in coordination with LGUs and resident salt producers, shall identify priority locations of roads linking the salt farms to the market, which shall be known as “Daan Asinan” or salt roads.

In the construction of the “Daan Asinan,” he said the law requires the BFAR to consider the investment cost for salt production in the area, the number of salt producers and their families who shall benefit from the venture, and the amount of salt produced or to be potentially produced in the salt production areas.

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