Earlier in September, Panganiban had said the salt shortage in the country is due to years of negligence in the industry, including by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
And in an interview with Dobol B TV, Panganiban said the BFAR has yet to utilize its P100 million budget for 2021 to boost salt production in the country. "For the last two to three years, wala akong nakitang activity na ginagawa ng BFAR kundi kumuha ng pera at pabayaan (I have not seen any activity done by BFAR but to take money and neglect it)."
According to the Office of the Press Secretary, the DA, which is headed by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., will lead efforts for local salt production.
Supply of salt is short in the Philippines even thought it is an archipelago with a coastline that stretches thousands of kilometers.
As salt production has declined in years, the Philippines now imports more than 90% of its needs. Businesses attribute the death of the industry to a law years back that made the addition of iodine to salt compulsory, according to Bloomberg.
Besides the shortage in salt, other food items such as sugar, onion, garlic, and fish are in short supply with agriculture officials declaring that stock might not be sufficient to cater to domestic demand until the holidays.
"We are not sufficient at all pag-dating po sa garlic [when it comes to garlic]. We are dependent on importation," DA Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said.
Onions, meanwhile, are expected to be scarce until November, with sufficiency levels reaching 0 percent last July across several regions. Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Assistant Director Ariel Bayot said that "We have no importation of yellow onions since January… The rest is local stocks."
“While harvest [...] from April or March was computed to last only three to four months, that's why supply is zero,” he added.
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