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3:19 pm on 8 January 2023, Sunday
By Caryl Gonzales
The Philippines’ fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) asserted that the government must strengthen local production and end the importation of fish this year to secure the exclusive rights of anglers in their fishing grounds and coastal communities.
PAMALAKAYA noted that in the last five years, the country had imported around 190,000 metric tons (MT) of fish from China, Vietnam, and Taiwan, adversely impacting the country’s local production as it further pulled down the farm gate prices of local production.
The group also cited the gate price of a galunggong that remained below P120 per kilo despite its retail price of P250 per kilo all-time high.
“Kung babalikan, nasa 17,000 MT ang inangkat na isda noong 2018, 45,000 MT naman noong 2019, 30,000 MT noong 2020, 60,000 MT noong 2021, habang 38,000 MT noong 2022,” it added.
[“Looking back, 17,000 MT of fish was imported in 2018, 45,000 MT in 2019, 30,000 MT in 2020, 60,000 MT in 2021, while 38,000 MT in 2022,”]
The fisher group called on President Bongbong Marcos, who is also the current Agriculture secretary, to revoke importation policies such as the Fisheries Administrative Order 195 and the issuance of a Certificate of Necessity to Import (CNI).
“Malaki ang pananagutan ni Marcos Jr. sa patuloy na pagbagsak ng ating agrikultura at pangisdaan dahil sa kapabayaan nitong tugunan ang pangangailangang suporta ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda sa panahon ng magkakasunod na kalamidad at pagsirit ng gastos sa produksyon,” it reiterated.
[“Marcos Jr. is accountable for the continued bankruptcy of our agriculture and fisheries courtesy of his neglect to address the plight of farmers and fishers amid successive natural calamities and inflation,”]
The call for a P15,000 production subsidy for almost two million registered fisherfolk in the country is still what the group demands, as it will boost local production and domestic food security.
“Hindi na dapat ito ipagkait sa mga mangingisda dahil makakatulong ito para sa lokal na produksyon at seguridad sa pagkain ng bansa,” PAMAKALAYA National Spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo said.
[“This should not be denied to our ailing fishers because this will help boost our local production and ultimately the domestic food security,”]
Last November 2022, the agriculture department authorized the importation of at least 25,000 MT of fish, noting it was necessary to “ensure enough supply in the wet markets.