General Santos City one step closer to becoming PH 'Tuna Capital'

At a glance

  • House Bill (HB) No.4641, which seeks to declare General Santos City as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines”, gets approved on third and final reading.

  • General Santos City lone district Rep. Loreto Acharon, principally authored the measure.








When Filipinos think of General Santos City in South Cotabato, they think about tuna. 

The House of Representatives members who attended plenary session Monday night, Sept. 18 thought of the same thing, as all 249 of them at the time of nominal voting voted in favor of passing House Bill (HB) No. 4641 on third and final reading. 

Principally authored by General Santos City lone district Rep. Loreto Acharon, HB No.4641 seeks to declare the city as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines”. 

This is to recognize its contribution as the largest producer of fresh and canned tuna in the country. 

“The House of Representatives, through this proposed legislation, would like to honor the importance of the tuna industry as a driver of development. It is not only a source of export earnings, but also a source of livelihood to our fisherfolks and workers in the City of General Santos, and the rest of the country,” Speaker Martin Romualdez, leader of the 311-strong House of Representatives, said following the third reading passage of the bill. 

“Indeed, the largest producer of canned and fresh tuna in the country for four decades deserve this timely recognition as we take pride in supporting the development of this industry in the coming years,” he added. 

Acharon, in his explanatory note for the bill, said that General Santos or GenSan is host to six of the eight tuna canneries in the Philippines and other allied industries that employ around 120,000 people. The industry is valued at around $58 million. 

“Even with the advent of emerging markets in other provinces with tuna as the main driver of local economics. The City of General Santos remains as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines for all practical intents and purposes as evidenced by the conduct of the annual National Tuna Congress, now on its 24th edition in the City of General Santos and every year before that, an acknowledgement without doubt to our claims to the title,” Acharon said. 

Forty years ago, the migratory fish was discovered along the shores of Sarangani Bay, and has remained not just a major export commodity for the City of General Santos, but more so as a main source of livelihood for its inhabitants and a major contributor to the country's overall gross domestic product (GDP), the Mindanao lawmaker said.