After it opposed the importation of 25,000 metric tons of fish until January 2023, a fisherfolk group dared President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to ban imported fish from China.
“Nakakabahalang pangunahing pinanggagalingan ng ating inaangkat na isda ay China, ang bansang nangangamkam at laganap ang mga malalaking barkong pangisda sa ating karagatan. Doble insulto ito sa atin bilang isang arkipelagong bansa (It is alarming that the main source of our imported fish is China – the country that plunders and rampages large fishing vessels in our oceans. This is a double insult to us as an archipelagic country),” said Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) National Spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
According to the fishers’ group, round scad, locally known as galunggong, is mostly caught off the waters of the West Philippine Sea, as well as open seas in Batangas, Mindoro, and Palawan.
The national government recently disclosed that the country will be importing 25,000 metric tons of frozen round scad, bigeye scad, mackerel, bonito, and moonfish for the Philippine wet markets during the closed fishing season which begins in November and will end in January 2023.
This move, according to Pamalakaya, will bring detrimental effects to both small and local fishermen.
Instead of pushing for importation, the group renewed its call for stronger support to small-scale Filipino fishermen. Included in their recommendations were the immediate provision of assistance by rolling out sufficient production subsidies and prohibition of reclamation projects in the country.
“Marcos Jr., being concurrent agriculture secretary, is accountable to the fisherfolk who will be put at a disadvantage due to the entry of cheap imported fish in the local market,” Pamalakaya furthered.