Group warns: Inflation to worsen unemployment rate among fishing sector
MANILA, Philippines — An progressive fisherfolk alliance has warned about the worsening unemployment rate in the fishing sector if the cost of basic commodities, particularly fuel products, continues to rise.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the fishing and aquaculture was the sector that suffered the highest drop in employment at 286,000 in August 2022.
It claimed that the increasing oil prices pushed several fishers to be seasonal while others have started seeking other sources of income.
“Highly alarming. This forced livelihood change of fishers will have long-term consequences for our local fish supply, food security, and market prices. Due to many difficulties faced by the fishing sector, they are being forced to seek other sources of income which they perceive as more stable than fishing,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
Their woes, he noted, “should alarm us as an archipelagic country because the sector supposedly involved in our aquatic and marine resources is further marginalized.”
Aside from inflation, reclamation projects converting coasts and fishing grounds into profit-driven business hubs further contribute to the unemployment woes within the fishing sector, Hicap added.
“There are 187 reclamation projects pending, approved, and already ongoing across the archipelago. One can only imagine the extent of damage these projects would bring not only to the socio-economic rights of thousands of fishing families but also to our marine and aquatic resources,” he lamented.
READ: Pamalakaya to DENR chief: Stop Manila Bay reclamation projects
Hicap then urged the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to take “significant actions” that would ease the impacts of inflation on fisherfolks, as well as measures to “protect coastal communities against destructive reclamation projects.”
“Our demands are not as complicated as they seem. All it takes is a strong political will from the current administration to support and strengthen our ailing fishing industry,” Hicap stressed. – Irish Perez, trainee
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