THE SENATE approved on third reading on Monday a priority bill outlining measures designed to revive the salt industry.

At Monday’s plenary session, the vote was 22 in favor with no abstentions and no votes against for Senate Bill No. 2243, which will lead to the drafting of a Philippine Salt Industry Development Roadmap.

The bill also seeks to promote investment in salt industry development programs, as well as in research and development into new salt production technology.

The bill proposes to establish a national salt council responsible for preparing the five-year salt industry roadmap.

If passed, the measure would reclassify salt as an agricultural product, giving the Department of Agriculture jurisdiction over the industry. The salt industry is currently being overseen by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Senator Cynthia A. Villar, who wrote the bill and heads the committee on agriculture, has said that the salt industry should be developed as an export enterprise and as a means for fisherfolk to supplement their income.

The bill, which is one of the 20 priority measures before Congress, aims to reduce reliance on imported salt.

The House of Representatives passed its version of the measure on May 29. — John Victor D. Ordoñez