DAVAO CITY , Philippines — A fisherfolk group asked on Friday Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to withdraw the Fisheries Administrative Order 195 that allows the importation of 17,000 metric tons of scad or known locally as galunggong starting first week of September and December 31, in a bid to stabilize the fish’s price in the market.
The national alliance of fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas), in a statement, said the withdrawal would be “for the sake of the safety of the Filipino public and the livelihood of small-fisherfolk.”
Pamalakaya’s statement came after the health department and fisheries bureau warned earlier this week of the imported round scad reportedly tainted with formalin which is a violation of the country’s Food Safety Act.
“This is a humble appeal to agriculture secretary Piñol. The Filipino public has spoken; we are highly alarmed by the high possibility that imported galunggong from China may be contaminated with formalin, a chemical primarily used to preserve cadavers,”Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said.
Instead of importing, Hicap urged the agriculture department to focus on promoting the local agricultural production including fisheries as he feared that the importation would pose a problem to the livelihood of local fisherfolks in the country.
Hicap argued that importing round scad will not guarantee that inflation would be stabilize as “few consignations and traders still control the price in the market and farm gate price from local fisherfolk.”
“The government should strengthen and improve the fishers’ tools of production. Also, ensure the post-harvest facilities to avoid the decomposition and wastage of the aquatic products so that importation wouldn’t be an option,” he said.(davaotoday.com)