Fishers group says RP importing same fish it produce
“Imagine, the Philippine government is importing tuna from foreign sources although the same fishery product is abundant in our country. There’s no sound and rational reason why we should get tuna from sources abroad.”
This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) upon learning that the government imported a total of 44, 362,242 kilograms of chilled tuna from 18 countries in 2007, valued at $ 78,412,179 or
P 2,307,204,979 total worth of tuna imports in 2007.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in 2007, the government imported 17,747,909 kilograms of imported tuna from Papua New Guinea ($ 20,967,038), 15,957, 376 kilograms of tuna from Taiwan ($ 18,128,881), 6,849,473 kilograms from Japan ($6,472, 299) and 1,529,665 kilograms from South Korea ($1,572,430).
“The Manila government should stop importing these fishery products because it is tantamount to anarchic importation and economic destruction of the backward fishing industry in the country,” he said.
The Pamalakaya leader added: “It means perpetual loss of livelihood to and displacement and round-the-clock beating of local fish producers in the country whose local fishing businesses are effectively edged out by the avalanche of cheap fish imports in the local market courtesy of imperialist globalization and neo-liberalization.”
Hicap said the export oriented, import dependent character, orientation and direction of the local fisheries sector which is further compounded and complicated by neo-liberal globalization policies of the government should be blamed for mass flooding of cheap fish imports all over the country.
According to Hicap, the Philippine government also imported mackerel fish products from abroad, despite the fact that the country is one of the leading fish producing mackerel products in Southeast Asian region.
Based on the document obtained by Pamalakaya, Hicap said the country imported 41,575,313 kilograms of mackerel from China valued at $ 14,976,745 or P 700,013,061. The government also sourced 17,545,791 kilograms of imported mackerel from Japan ( $9,537,064), 3,283,570 kilograms of mackerel from Taiwan ($ 1,298,892), 2,547,522 kilograms from South Korea
($ 980,567) 779,810 kilograms from the United States ($338,563) and 303,380 kilograms from Pakistan ($ 108,253).
The same document revealed that although the country is also a leading producer of milkfish, the government also imports milkfish from different countries for domestic consumption. In 2007, the government imported 382,527 kilograms of milkfish from Indonesia valued at $ 1,496,783 and 5,238 kilograms of milkfish from the United States worth $ 12,224.
The Pamalakaya leader said in 2007, the Philippine government imported 54,473,096 kilograms of assorted fish from China amounting to $ 24,059,179 or P 1.124 B in 2007. The country also imported 17,747,909 kilograms of fish from Papua New Guinea worth $ 20,967,038, 20,558,278 kilograms of assorted fish from Taiwan worth $ 20,039,596, 25,160,896 kilograms of assorted fish products from Japan amounting to $ 16,743,084.
Also in the same year, the Macapagal-Arroyo government imported 12,425,138 kilograms of different fish products from Indonesia worth $ 11,374,372, 17,239,681 kilograms of various fish products from South Korea ($ 8,019,431), 9,499,310 kilograms of assorted fish from the United States amounting to $ 7,768,495, 9,093,385 kilograms of fish from Peru ($ 7,547,401) and 8,962 kilograms of fish species from Thailand worth $ 6,722, 412.
Pamalakaya said the country is also importing assorted fishery products from Denmark, Chile, Vietnam, Norway, Brazil, Hong Kong, Argentina, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia and France.
On the other hand the fishers group said the country’s best fishery products like tuna, seaweeds, shrimp, prawns, crabs, lapu-lapu and lobsters do not end in the tables of ordinary Filipinos but are exported to rich countries.
Pamalakaya said in 2007, the country’s best fishery products are sent to the United States (40,128,636 kilograms/$155,087,088), Japan (12,914,167 kilograms/$ 71, 172,552), Germany (14,623,742 kilograms/$40,940,476) and Hong Kong (12,875,101/$ 40,318,890).
The country’s best fishery products are also exported to Thailand, France, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, China, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Belgium, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Australia. #