A fisherfolk group urged the government Friday, March 5, to provide support to small fishers, as it lamented the skyrocketing market prices of mackerel scad, or more popularly known as galunggong.
Fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the recent price hike of one of the country’s staple fish products was an added burden to consumers who are already reeling from rising food prices and other commodities.
“Once a poor man’s fish, galunggong is no longer affordable to poor families courtesy of its unreasonable prices,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chairperson, said in a statement.
“With the prices of other foods such as rice, vegetables, and meat products rising, ordinary consumers who have yet to recover from the crises of pandemic have now nothing to choose from to eat a decent meal,” he added.
The group demanded the government to aid small fishers by directly procuring their products, and eventually bring the fishery products in the market at an affordable price.
“We demand a government support for small fishers in the same way that hog raisers have been subsidized to address the pork shortage and its unprecedented price increase,” Hicap said.
“Our demand will give the small fishers decent income and at the same time will give consuming public an affordable price of fish,” he added.
Pamalakaya has also called on the government to “seriously consider” placing a price cap on fish products as prices of galunggong reached an average of P280 per kilogram (kg).
“While the average retail price of galunggong is at P280/kg all-time high, its farm gate value remains P60/kg all-time low, leaving both small fishers and poor consumers at disadvantage,” Hicap said.
“There is clearly a manipulation of its market price,” he added.
Malacañang said the government was monitoring the prices of fish in the markets, with Presidential spokesman Harry Roque saying that the government will not hesitate to import fish to ensure enough supply.