There is an urgent need to promote and preserve the Philippine’s artisanal salt to preserve the country’s strong salt-making tradition, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda said on Friday, September 8.
The country's artisanal salt is an indigenous condiment that refers to unrefined salt derived directly from a living sea or ocean using traditional methods.
“This kind of salt is a huge part of the Philippines. Artisanal salt not only makes our food delicious, but it also shows how Filipino salt farmers were able to preserve our country's strong salt-making tradition, clearly showing how the salt industry continues to thrive today,” Legarda said.
Among the artisanal salt in the country are “asin tibuok” in Alburqueque, Bohol; “tultul” from Guimaras Island in Iloilo, “asin sa buy-o” from Botolan, Zambales, and “sugpo asin” of Pangasinan, among many others.
“This is not just salt. This is considered a cultural treasure that we must preserve. As an archipelagic country, the Philippines should always utilize all the opportunities given by our rich natural resources. And with that being said, we should start with our salt industry,” Legarda stressed.
The senator said she fully supports all efforts geared towards strengthening the Philippines' salt industry to promote its agricultural productivity, noting its significance as an economic growth driver ever since.
The Senate is currently deliberating Senate Bill No. 2243, or the Act Strengthening and Revitalizing the Salt Industry in the Philippines, authored and co-sponsored by Legarda.
Legarda's home province, Antique, has been identified as an ideal site for natural salt production, being situated along the sea coast.
According to the lawmaker, the “pangasin,” or the art of salt-making, is an age-old tradition in the province and has been among the residents' source of livelihood and income.
Passage of SB No. 2243 into law would be an essential in addressing the gaps in the country’s salt industry and making the industry competitive with local and international markets, including its potential in coming up with more conducive jobs for Filipinos, especially salt farmers.
The measure proposes the establishment of the Philippine Salt Industry Development Roadmap that will formulate programs, projects, and interventions for the development, processing, and utilization, among others, of the Philippine Salt.
“As I have mentioned before, as legislators, we must not turn a blind eye on this equally important aspect of our growing economy. Salt is not just a food commodity. It will always be an integral part of our development as a nation that consistently provided Filipinos opportunities that shape communities,” she said.