Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means met virtually to approve the fiscal provisions of the substitute bill for the Comprehensive Atomic Regulation Act. They are joined by PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla as well as other DOST and PNRI officials and staff. 

DOST-PNRI cheers House panel approval on tax provisions of bill creating nuclear regulatory body

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) raised its hopes anew with the recent approval of the House Committee on Ways and Means on the bill creating an independent nuclear regulatory body. Called the Comprehensive Atomic Regulation Act, the bill proposes the creation of the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission which will regulate all activities and facilities involving sources of ionizing radiation.

The substitute bill, which consolidates 13 supporting House bills, was approved on August 9 by the House Ways and Means Committee chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.

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.

Rep. Salceda expressed his full support for the passage of the measure, stating that the growing country, which is now the 13th most populous country in the world, needs to harness “the most powerful forces ever tapped into by mankind.”

He cited DOST as “very nimble in making use of atomic and nuclear research in determining everything from the purity of foods to the health risks of certain devices.”

“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 also said.

“We need to understand the world at the atomic level, and we need our laws to acknowledge this field,” he added. “For these reasons, I express my full support for the passage of this measure.”

Among those to be regulated by the PARC are nuclear and radioactive materials, and facilities and radiation-generating equipment commonly used in the medical and industrial sectors.

The country currently has two regulatory bodies that deal with ionizing radiation. The DOST-PNRI 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 regulates radiation-generating devices, such as X-ray machines.

Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña has been continuously rallying behind the creation of an independent regulatory body for the country to be at par with international standards.

Further, DOST-PNRI Director Carlo A. Arcilla likewise points out 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 funding provisions of the measure was previously approved in May this year by the House Committee on Appropriations. The recent approval by the Committee on Ways and Means will subject the measure for second reading by the Committees on Government Reorganization, Science and Technology, and Energy.

On November 21, 2017, the substitute bill for a Comprehensive Nuclear Law was approved by the House Committees on Government Reorganization, and Science and Technology of the previous 17th Congress. (PNRI-Nuclear Information and Documentation Section)