Fishers ask production subsidy to cater community pantries, local food security

Manila, Philippines – After donating to a community pantry, small fishers under the national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) are seeking production subsidy to bolster fishing productivity that will replenish community-initiative pantries with fishery products, and moreover, to cater the domestic food security.

More than 50 kilograms of fresh and surplus produce of small fishers in Rizal province were donated to a Maginhawa-inspired community pantry set-up by Anakpawis Party-list along C.P. Garcia, Diliman, Quezon City yesterday. Most beneficiaries were urban poor in the University of the Philippines (U.P.) community.

“As much as we want to continue replenishing community pantries with fresh fish, it seems unfeasible unless the government provides us with production subsidy to pump-prime our fishing production. Being one of the country’s food security frontliners, it is by right that we demand the government to help us sustain our livelihood through production aid,” Ronnel Arambulo, PAMALAKAYA leader based in Rizal province said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA is supporting the House Bill 9192 filed by Makabayan legislators in the congress. The bill seeks to provide P15, 000 to at least 1 million Filipinos employed in the fisheries and aquatic sector for production and livelihood expenses.

The fishers’ group said that the fisherfolk sector bears the brunt of the high cost of production expenses due to increase of oil products and basic commodities triggered by inflation rate that continues to hit the country. PAMALAKAYA said due to oil price hikes, petroleum products eat up almost 80% of a fishing trip.

“A P15,000 production subsidy for small fishers will ensure that they could keep up with the increasing demand of fishery and marine products amid the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic. This proposal is already a bill filed in the congress and we call on the legislators to prioritize this as urgent,” Arambulo added.

Lastly, PAMALAKAYA said the emergence of community pantries across the country is a strong message to the national government to address the needs of the Filipinos in these trying times.

“Malinaw ang mensaheng ipinaparating ng mga community pantry; may pagkakaisa ang mga Pilipino sa harap ng krisis habang inutil ang pamahalaan. Nananawagan ang PAMALAKAYA sa mga Pilipino na ituloy pa ang inisyatiba ng pagkakaisa at higit sa lahat, panagutin ang kapalpakan ng gobyerno na tugunan ang ating mga pangangailangan sa gitna ng pandemya,” ended Arambulo. ###

Members of Pamalakaya and Anakpawis from Laguna Lake in Binangonan, Rizal donate their catch to a community pantry in Quezon City.

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