AN economist-lawmaker is pushing for a strong framework that will standardize measurements and boost the Philippines’s trade with the world as well as strengthen consumer protection.
House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda pushed for the passage of his House Bill No. 635 or the National Measurement System Modernization Act.
The proposal seeks to create a national measurement system, which will include powers to monitor, regulate and enforce measurement standards and ensure that correct and accurate measures are used across the country.
“The whole global economic system is built on one fundamental idea: that you get what you pay for. A kilogram of rice must be a kilogram —whether sold outright in the market, or traded as a futures contract, or securitized in a warehouse receipt. Otherwise, trust in the system is undermined,” Salceda said on Tuesday.
“In such a system, a country with untrustworthy measures is a country few people will wish to trade with. In any case, the mere risk of measurement deviations will make any market participant trade at a discount. Standardized metrology also reduces trade barriers. Countries that can easily convert or use the same units of measure can trade more easily. That is why it is absolutely important for me, as an economist, to ensure that we have reliable metrology in this country,” Salceda added.
Salceda also cited global standards, which recommend the adoption of national legislation on the matter.
“I would like to point you to the Asia-Pacific Legal Metrology Forum’s recommendations on the national infrastructure for legal metrology and how this proposal measures up. The forum recommends a system of legal traceability through national standards and a reference laboratory, legal controls through surveillance, verification, and enforcement, all within the framework of national legislation. These recommendations are incorporated in the bill,” he said.
Salceda also cited its role in land valuation and advance sciences.
“Although metrology can seem very conceptual, its role in nation-building is actually very practical. In this country, the problem with metrology is most evident in the measurement of land. In that area, the lack of standardization of measuring instruments among surveyors and geodetic engineers has resulted in severe deviations in land measurement. That has negative implications on everything from banking to taxation to agriculture,” he added.
Salceda said Congress is working on making the country’s land valuation system more efficient “but if the land measurement itself is questionable, the total land value becomes suspect, even with better valuation standards.”
Salceda also recommended, “that the costs that businesses bear as a result of compliance requirements under this act should be treated as an ordinary expense, incurred in the course of doing business.”
Salceda recommended that inaccurate measuring devices to be replaced under the proposal to be fully depreciated within two years upon its effectivity, while replacement devices should be treated as expenses deductible from gross income under the Tax Code.