House panel approves bill setting up atomic commission

THE HOUSE Committee on Appropriations approved a measure that will establish a Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission (PARC).

In a hearing Wednesday, the panel approved the substitute bill consolidating House Bills 663, 4694, 652, 1031, 2535, 2738, 2785, 4267, 4558, 5005, 6316, 7191, and 7675, which will create a Comprehensive Atomic Regulation Act.

“Motion is approved,” committee Vice Chairman Manuel Jose M. Dalipe said during the hearing.

If passed, the measure will create a new independent commission responsible for regulating the nuclear energy industry. Legislators have long pushed for the creation of PARC, which will oversee the use of nuclear and other radioactive materials; facilities; and radiation generating equipment.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said that the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) supports the creation of the commission, adding: “there needs to be a separate agency” from the DoST’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI).

He added that organizing a commission is timely because nuclear energy is being considered for inclusion in the country›s energy mix.

Based on the explanatory note of House Bill 663, the proposed PARC will also take functions that the PNRI and the Food and Drug Administration cannot handle which both only regulate materials but do not exercise functions on waste disposal and nuclear security, among others. — Gillian M. Cortez

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