‘Unbelievable!’ Pacquiao hits DA’s plan to import 60,000 MT of fish
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao on Thursday expressed disbelief over the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) announcement that it would import 60,000 metric tons (MT) of pelagic fish, raising questions as to how a country surrounded by large bodies of water can have a shortage in its fish supply.
According to Pacquiao, the admission of DA Secretary William Dar that the country is experiencing fish shortage is a manifestation of the government’s inability to manage and optimize the country’s rich aquatic resource properly.
“This is unbelievable. Saan ka naman nakakita ng bansang napapaligiran ng mga dagat pero nag-iimport ng mga produktong galing sa dagat? Sobrang kawawa na nga ang ating mga magsasaka dahil sa pagpasok ng napakaraming imported at smuggled na mga bigas at gulay tapos ngayon naman ang mga mangingisda naman natin ang gustong parusahan,” the PROMDI presidential bet said in a statement.
Pacquiao said the DA should protect the interest of Filipino farmers and fisherfolks as he stressed that this decision to import pelagic fishes endemic to the Philippines only shows that the government is not doing anything to improve the country’s fishing industry.
Pacquiao pointed out that the Philippines is an archipelagic nation and is regarded to have the world’s 5th longest coastlines, which makes it ideal for fishing and aquatic farming. This advantage of the Philippines, he added, could make it one of the world’s leading providers of marine and other aquatic products if only the government can harness the country’s full potential as a fisheries hub.
“Dapat tayo ang nag-eexport ng mga isda lalung-lalong na yang mga isdang gaya ng galunggong at makerel dahil marami niyan sa Pilipinas. Paano nangyari na tayo ngayon ang nag iimport samantalang napakaraming Pilipino ang mangingisda?” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao said that the admission of fish shortage is also an admission of failure on the part of Dar to manage the country’s marine and aquatic resources properly.
Pacquiao also questioned why Dar had approved the importation of 60,000 MT of fish for the first quarter supposedly to ensure sufficient supply in the country despite the pronouncement of the National Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council that the country has enough fish supply.
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