Feeding the world with galunggong but none for the Filipinos
The National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA) takes exception to the statement of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Asis Perez that the country is “compelled to open the domestic market to import fish because of declining fish catch.” BFAR stated that 10 of 13 fishing grounds are “heavily exploited”. What BFAR has failed to state is how and who “heavily exploits” Philippine waters.
What BFAR also fails to mention is that fishing, or overfishing to be more precise, is being carried out mainly by foreign companies or foreign nationals hiding in shell corporations in export processing zones. Too, Chinese and Japanese corporations are lording it over Philippine waters no thanks trade treaties entered by the previous administration.
Filipino canning corporations, often in partnership with foreign capital, are exporting sardines resulting in the overfishing of salinas, the main ingredient of local sardines. Filipinos have to suffer price increases for the lowly sardinas – already the poor man’s ulam.
On the other hand, Filipino commercial fishing companies catering to the domestic market are barely surviving financially due to high cost of petroleum products and other operating expenses. Municipal fishermen are faring much worse, as they cannot venture out too far from shore –again due to high cost of gasoline.
Thus, the Philippines is feeding the world with tuna, galunggong, sugpo, bangus, sardines and other bounty from the seas but there is none left to feed the Filipinos.
BFAR has done well to raise the alarm over the state of the lowly galunggong. But it must set its sights much farther out than blaming the lowly Filipino fishermen for the current state of the state of affairs.