A fishers’ group on Wednesday, Aug. 4, urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to coordinate with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to issue “clear directives” exempting agri-fishery products from strict border control points during lockdown.
In a statement, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) warned against movement restrictions of agricultural and fisher products during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
PAMALAKAYA said the possible hampering of basic food products on control points “will lead to economic and food crisis.”
“In the past, border restrictions impeded the movement of agri-fishery products from one place to another. It primarily affected small fishers and farmers who were unable to transport their produce to major fish ports and markets in central towns,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said.
“Deliveries of food products should be unhampered or it will lead to another crisis after another. Apart from medical response, it should also be considered that food is essential in time of a public health crisis. Strengthening agricultural and fisheries production can assure steady and affordable supply of food in the market,” he added.
PAMALAKAYA reiterated its call for the immediate passage of House Bill 9192, seeking a P15,000 subsidy for fishers and farmers for production and livelihood expenses.
“Being the country’s food and security frontliners, it is by right that we demand government support in a form of production subsidy and livelihood aid to pump-prime the production and keep up with the ever-increasing demand of food by the distressed population,” Hicap said.