Manila, Philippines – Amid the skyrocketing prices of galunggong (round scad fish) at P280/kilogram, the progressive fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) is urging for a “government intervention in a form of price control to curb the rising prices of the once poor man’s fish”.
“With its retail price of P280/kilo, galunggong is unaffordable to poor consumers anymore. This unreasonable prices of one of the Filipinos’ staple fish products is mainly caused by the unregulated fish traders and private middlemen who secure their profits by jacking up, and eventually pushes up the retail prices in the market,” Ronnel Arambulo, PAMALAKAYA Spokesperson said in a statement.
The fishers’ group clarified that the retail prices of galunggong and other fishery products never reflect their farm gate value, as fish traders barter them to small fishers with a very low price.
“While the market price of galunggong is at P280/kg, its farm gate prices remain P60/kg, or four times lower than the retail price. This is a clear manipulation of market price that are both detrimental to the fishers and poor consumers,” Arambulo added.
Instead, PAMALAKAYA added, the government through the Department of Agriculture (DA) should carry out a “parallel effort” to stabilize fish prices by directly procuring fishery products from small fisherfolk.
“The Department of Agriculture should intervene by imposing a price ceiling that would be reasonable and beneficial for local producers, retailers, and consumers. This effort would preempt greedy wholesalers and traders from manipulating the prices of galunggong and other fish products which serve as main sources of protein for many Filipinos,” Arambulo added, citing that the measure is stated under the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act that provisions Automatic Price Control against illegal manipulation, including profiteering or the sale or offering for sale of any basic necessity or prime commodity at a price grossly in excess of its true worth.
Lastly, the fishers’ group said that “this solution to fish inflation is more comprehensive and beneficial to local fishing industry rather than importation”. ###