PROMDI presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao said on Wednesday, Jan. 19 that the Department of Agriculture’s decision to import 60,000 metric tons pelagic fishes is “unbelievable.”
Pacquiao explained that such decision is questionable because there is just no way that a country surrounded by large bodies of water can have shortage of fish supply.
In a press statement, Pacquiao said the Department of Agriculture’s claim of fish shortage clearly manifests government’s failure to properly manage and optimize the country’s rich aquatic resource.
“This is unbrelievable! Saan ka naman nakakita ng bansang napapaligiran ng mga dagat pero nag-iimport ng mga produktong galing sa dagat? (Just where can you find a country surrounded with seas but is importing products from the sea).” he stated.
Pacquiao is among the political leaders to question the DA decision to import fish that are endemic to the country.
Presidential race rival Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, a senatorial aspirant, have issued statements criticizing the DA decision.
Pacquiao, who hails Saranggani which is one of the largest fish suppliers in the country, called on the DA to protect the interest of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk instead taking the easiest route, which is importation, in addressing food supply problems.
He said the decision to import pelagic fishes endemic to the Philippines shows that government is not doing anything to improve the country’s fishing industry.