House of Representatives

House OKs Marcos pet bills on BI modernization, salt industry development

Dwight de Leon

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House OKs Marcos pet bills on BI modernization, salt industry development

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The House plenary hall.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

The two bills are among the several measures passed by the House as the chamber rushes to approve key proposals before its scheduled adjournment by end of the week

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives rushed to pass more Marcos administration priority measures before it adjourns indefinitely by the end of the week.

On Monday, May 29, the chamber approved:

HB 8278 seeks to address the declining salt production in the Philippines, an archipelagic country which has among the longest shorelines in the world yet imports most of its salt.

Committee hearings in 2022 said numerous factors led to the decay of the industry: urbanization that converted venues for salt production into commercial areas, and the passage of a law that required salt iodization at the expense of small industry players who could not procure more sophisticated technology and machinery.

The proposal approved by the House seeks to establish a Philippine Salt Industry Development Council and come up with a roadmap to revive the salt industry.

The bill seeks to exempt domestically-produced salt and industrial salt from mandatory iodization, and direct the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to identify areas suitable for salt production.

It would also task the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to spearhead efforts to revitalize the salt industry.

Modernizing the BI

Like the Philippine Salt Industry Development Act, the BI Modernization Act was listed as a priority measure through the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council.

The bill seeks to repeal antiquated laws – particularly the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 – which its proponents say are no longer responsive to present day conditions.

It also proposes to create a three-member board of commissioners that would decide on cases or applications in connection with deportation, revocation of immigration status, and reacquisition and retention of Philippine citizenship, among others.

Other key provisions include the establishment of an immigration trust fund not exceeding P1.2 billion from its annual income sourced from fees, fines, and penalties. The money can be used for the modernization of the agency’s facilities, payment of employee benefits, and professionalization of BI employees through trainings and seminars.

House rushing

The House, in a speedy pace, was trying to pass several bills before it formally adjourns sine die on Friday, June 2. The last plenary session is expected on Wednesday, May 31.

Bills passed by Congress and signed into law are likely to be part of President Marcos’ list of accomplishments when he delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.

Other measures passed by the House on Monday include:

  • HB 451: seeking to encourage corporate social responsibility
  • HB 827: seeking to modernize the century-old law governing warehouse receipts
  • HB 7754: seeking to revert unutilized or abandoned fish ponds to forest lands
  • HB 7819: seeking to declare maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines
  • HB 7941: seeking to create the Bamboo Industry Research and Development Center
  • HB 7942: seeking to establish an agriculture information system in all cities and municipalities
  • HB 8144: seeking to define the crime of tax racketeering and providing penalties
  • HB 8325: seeking to place the Overseas Filipino Workers hospital under the direct supervision of the Department of Migrant Workers
  • HB 8204: seeking to provide a regulatory framework to conserve, protect, restore, and sustainably manage peatlands


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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers the House of Representatives and the Commission on Elections for Rappler. Previously, he wrote stories on local government units.