Manila, Philippines – On the occasion of World Food Day, fishers under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), along with peasant women group Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women held a joint protest at the Mega Q. Market in Quezon City to denounce the government’s importation of agricultural and fisheries products.
During the protest, PAMALAKAYA lambasted the importation of at least 60, 000 metric tons of galunggong (round scad) starting October, saying the “measure is a death to local fishing industry that needs to be opposed by the fisherfolk and fish-eating population,”.
“Opening our floodgates for imported fish inflicts serious harm to our struggling fishing industry. Its immediate impact would be felt by our local fisherfolk whose products would be outcompeted by imported fish. This importation measure that stems from liberalization policies should stop,” Ronnel Arambulo, PAMALAKAYA Spokesman said during the protest.
Arambulo explained that farm gate price of galunggong would further decrease with the entry of imported fish, as traders would prefer the latter which are relatively cheaper than the local fish produce.
“Lalong babaratin ng mga fish trader ang presyo ng produkto ng mga maliliit na mangingisda na magsasadlak sa mga ito sa lalong pagkalugi bunga ng mataas na gastos sa produksyon. Sa ganitong kalagayan, malayo pa rin ang posibilidad na bumaba ang presyo ng isda sa mga pamilihan dahil mananatiling kontrolado ng mga wholesaler ang presyo ng mga ito,” Arambulo added, explaining that importation of galunggong does not guarantee stabilization of its market prices.
Part of their campaign to boycott imported galunggong, PAMALAKAYA said they will educate consumers via regular market hopping to identify the imported fish to local one. This campaign would also call the consumers to patronize and support the local produce of Filipino fishers.
“The campaign to boycott imported galunggong is on. The Filipino consumers don’t deserve frozen fish when there are fresh and better-quality fishery products that our fishers and abundant marine resource could offer,” ended Arambulo. ###
#WorldHungerDay2021 protest of farmers, fisherfolk and other groups in Quezon City.