TIAONG, Quezon – Stakeholders of a non-government organization advocating for food security for Filipinos have called on the incoming administration to certify as urgent a measure creating the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Lawyer Asis Perez, now a convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan, said no DFAR bill in the previous congresses had ever reached second reading.
“Nagkakaisa ang lahat – municipal, commercial, business, and aquaculture, post-harvest – na kailangan ng isang DFAR,” said Perez during a virtual briefing on Monday, June 27.
He estimated the cost of establishing the proposed department to be around P12 billion. The BFAR has an annual budget of around P4 billion.
Perez himself had served as director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). He cited the administrative infrastructure for the would-be department is already in place in the form of BFAR.
“Tagos ang bureaucracy, deeper,” added Perez.
He explained that the Department of Agriculture, which is the parent department of the BFAR, operates on a regional level, while the BFAR operates deep down the provincial level.
He added that Tugon Kabuhayan has been making the same call for a separate agency for fisheries and aquatic resources.
“Gusto namin ng opisina na may mesa. Itayo niyo lang ang DFAR, magkakaroon ng seafood security,” vowed Roberto ‘Ka Dodoy’ Ballon, Tugon Kabuhayan convenor and recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award.
“Ang laki ng potential ng industry pero salingpusa lang kami at hindi kinukunsulta. Hindi nakikita kaya kulang sa pansin. Halimbawa, hanggang ngayon, no protocol sa mga permit, taon-taon nagbabago. Ang pangingisda ang magsisiguro na mapapalago ang hanapbuhay sa kanayunan,” said Norberto Chingcuanco of Feedmix Specialist Inc.
“Kailangan may sarili tayong bahay, may sariling budget. Ngayong under tayo ng DA, sabog-sabog, walang direksyon,” said Renato ‘Ka Rene’ Bocaya, of the Finfish Hatcheries Inc.