Dagupan on guard vs ‘alien bangus’
DAGUPAN CITY—The local government will soon accredit fish dealers in the city to protect the homegrown variety of “bangus” (milkfish) from the competition with other varieties passed off by unscrupulous traders as grown in Dagupan.
On Oct. 21, the city council passed an ordinance that would safeguard Dagupan bangus after receiving complaints that “alien bangus,” or milkfish produced outside the city, had been flooding the local market.
According to the authors of the ordinance, traders from other places have been selling “double dead” and “counterfeit” bangus in the city, posing risks to public health and hurting Dagupan’s milkfish industry.
Bangus grown in Dagupan is reputedly the country’s tastiest and juiciest.
“While we believe in free enterprise, we know that Dagupan bangus is known all over the world as the tastiest, and we should protect our own produce,” Councilor Librada Reyna said in explaining the bill in August.
Dagupan, she said, has always been protective of its reputation as the producer of the “best-tasting bangus” and even holds an annual festival celebrating the fish.
The ordinance authorizes the mayor to accredit local fish dealers through the city agriculture office.
The accreditation system has four grades for dealers based on the source of bangus:
Grade A for those who sell Dagupan bangus
Grade B for those who sell bangus from other parts of Pangasinan province
Grade C for those who handle “northern bangus,” or milkfish grown in other parts of Pangasinan province
Grade D for those who sell “extra local bangus,” or milkfish from southern Luzon provinces.
Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, one of the sponsors of the ordinance, on Wednesday said the system would enable consumers to easily identify the real Dagupan bangus.
“Consumers, especially those from other places who come here for the local bangus, end up disappointed after getting tricked into buying bangus grown outside Dagupan,” Tamayo said.
The ordinance sets a limit for Grade D dealers. They may bring in only 300 30-kilo tubs of their fish on Mondays and Fridays—9,000 kg for those two days or 18,000 kg a week.
They are also prohibited from transporting extra local bangus on days other than Monday and Friday.
Offenders will be held liable for falsified, fictitious, or tampered transport permits.
Local authorities may confiscate “unauthorized bangus” and suspend the dealers’ operations for at least a week. Offenders would face revocation of their accreditation.
According to records at the city agriculture office, an average of 12,600 metric tons of bangus are sold in Dagupan annually. Of that volume, 4,966 MT are harvested or grown in Dagupan, while the rest come from Pangasinan and other provinces.
Dagupan has a wholesale market where bangus producers and dealers sell milkfish from the city and other Pangasinan towns.
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