Manila, Philippines – The national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) is backing the House bill No. 9192 seeking P15, 000 financial and production support for at least one million small fisherfolks to “pump-prime the wheels of production” amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Filed by the Makabayan legislators yesterday, the HB 9192 stated at least 1 million Filipinos employed in the fisheries and aquatic sector, as recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), shall directly receive the amount of P15, 000 for production and livelihood expenses.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA urged the House legislators to urgently tackle the bill as small fisherfolks, regarded as the country’s poorest of the poor, are in dire need of production subsidy to recover from their loss within the year of pandemic, and to keep pace with the rising demand for foods within the areas under strict quarantine.
“We appeal to the legislators in the House of Representatives to act on this bill as urgent in the name of mitigating the devastating impacts of the pandemic to the country’s poorest sector who also happens to be one of the front-liners for food security,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fishers’ group said that income of small fisherfolks since the pandemic hit the country last year decreased from the pre-pandemic average of P300-P500 per fishing operation under normal weather conditions, to an average of P150 per fishing trip at present.
“The economic crises brought about by the pandemic and the government’s failed response inflict too much hardship on us. We are not begging but we are asserting by rights that marginalized fisherfolks should immediately receive direct livelihood assistance to continue with the wheels of production and get back on our feet,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon asserted.
The House bill was drafted by PAMALAKAYA in coordination with Anakpawis Party-list and the office of Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Eufemia Cullamat. ###
Copy of HB 9192.