As the Department of Agriculture’s claim of fish shortage is disputed even by the fisheries sector, vice-presidential aspirant Senator Kiko Pangilinan said smugglers of food items will be jailed and the “mafia-style” importation of galunggong (round scad) and other food items will be dismantled under a Robredo-Pangilinan administration.
“Tulad ng pag-import ng PPEs (personal protective equipment) ng DBM-PS (Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service) galing China, mukhang may sindikato na nakapaligid sa DA at kumikita sa importation ng baboy, isda, bigas, gulay at asukal,” Pangilinan said.
“Bakit interes ng importer ang inuuna? Dahil ba tulad sa Pharmally ay kasabwat ang mga malalapit sa matataas na opisyal ng bansa?” the veteran legislator said.
The seasoned lawmaker’s assertion came after the National Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (NFARMC), created by Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1988, as the highest policy-making and recommendatory body in fisheries matters, rejected DA’s plan to import 60,000 metric tons of fish.
“The country still had enough fish for the next couple of months.”
NFARMC said the country still had enough fish for the next couple of months.
“Mawawalan nang kita ang mga local na mangingisda kapag bumaha sa merkado ng imported fish. Gusto ba natin silang pilayin o lumpuhin talaga?” the senator said.
“Halatang inuuna ang mga dayuhan at iniitsepwera mga lokal na industriya. Mukhang mafia style ang nangyayari sa iba’t ibang departamento. Department of Angkat (Importation) na ba ang DA?” he asked.
“Sa ilalim ng Robredo-Pangilinan administration, ikukulong ang mga smuggler at bubuwagin ang mga mafia, lalong-lalo na sa pagkain,” Pangilinan added.
Earlier, he rebuked the DA for its practice of importing goods as its primary solution in dealing with food problems in the country.
“Importation is a big blow to the local farmers and fisherfolk.”
“Food crisis after food crisis, the DA’s default mode is to import. This is harming, if not killing, the agriculture and fishing industries. Importation is a big blow to the local farmers and fisherfolk,” Pangilinan said.
Recently, the DA’s Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has decided to import an estimated 200,000 metric tons of sugar. The SRA defended its controversial decision by saying it is intended to prevent shortage and stabilize supply.
Last year, DA allowed the importation of vegetables and fruits, displacing local vegetable and fruit-growers. Benguet farmers urged the recall and cancellation of the permits to import strawberries from South Korea.
At the height of African swine fever, it has also flooded the market with imported pork.
“Kailangang unahin ang mga Pilipinong magsasaka at mangingisda, hindi ang mga interes ng mga importer. Pag nagsawa na sila sa pagpapakain sa atin, makakaasa ba tayo sa ibang bansa na pakainin tayo?” Pangilinan concluded.