Legarda bats for promotion, preservation of artisanal salt as a cultural treasure

September 8, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda pushed for the promotion and preservation of the country’s artisanal salt, 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,” she emphasized.

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.

She also reiterated her full support towards further strengthening the Philippines’ salt industry to promote its agricultural productivity, noting its significance as an economic growth driver ever since.

As the Senate deliberates Senate Bill No. 2243, or the Act Strengthening and Revitalizing the Salt Industry in the Philippines, authored and co-sponsored by Legarda, she underscored this bill as an essential move in addressing the gaps in making the industry competitive with local and international markets, including the industry’s potential in coming up with more conducive jobs for Filipinos, especially salt farmers.

The said bill requires 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,” Legarda added.

Antique, Legarda’s home province, has been identified as an ideal site for natural salt production, being situated along the sea coast. 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.

The industry further developed with the help of the Shared Services Facility of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through Republic Act No. 9501 or the Magna Carta for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME), principally sponsored and authored by Legarda.

To boost local salt production, the four-term senator emphasized providing substantial and attractive incentives to investors, which can also help reduce the country’s dependence on importation. (30)