DOST welcomes House Committee on Ways and Means’ approval of bill creating atomic commission

Published August 13, 2021, 12:54 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) has welcomed the House Committee on Ways and Means’ approval of a substitute bill seeking the creation of the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission (PARC).

(Photo from DOST-PNRI)

The DOST-PNRI thanked the House panel, chaired by Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda for passing the tax provisions of the substitute bill creating an independent nuclear regulatory body.

The panel specifically passed the tax provisions of the proposed Comprehensive Atomic Regulation Act, a consolidation of 13 measures, on Aug. 9.

Under the bill, the PARC is mandated to regulate all activities and facilities involving sources of ionizing radiation.

“The Committee approved the measures that would allow the PARC, upon operation, to charge and collect reasonable fees for its regulatory functions. The PARC will also be exempted from taxes and duties when importing atomic fuel, in accordance with the National Internal Revenue Code,” the DOST-PNRI said in a statement.

The bill provides that the PARC will regulate the following: nuclear and radioactive materials, and facilities and radiation-generating equipment commonly used in the medical and industrial sectors.

Salceda said it is about time for the country, which is now the 13th most populous country in the world, to harness “the most powerful forces ever tapped into by mankind.”

“Soon, as some scientists predict, we will be using nuclear technology to expand the world’s vaccine portfolio faster, since atomic and sub-atomic particles can be made to behave with greater precision than live organisms or parts of them,” he said, even as he expressed his full support to the passage of the bill.

“We need to understand the world at the atomic level, and we need our laws to acknowledge this field,” he added.

The DOST-PNRI is one of the two regulatory bodies dealing with ionizing radiation. The Institute regulates nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities, while the Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health and Research of the Food and Drug Administration under the Department of Health (DOH) regulates radiation-generating devices, such as X-ray machines.

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña has been batting for the creation of an independent regulatory body consistent with international standards.

DOST-PNRI Director Carlo A. Arcilla likewise stressed that the “nuclear industry regulation must be entrusted to a single independent agency for a number of reasons, including the lowering of the risk of nuclear or radiological accidents.”

The House Committee on Appropriations approved on May 12 the funding provisions of the bill, chaired by ACT-CIS partylist Rep. Eric Go Yap.