Focus on local production than importation of galunggong: solon

MANILA — Rather than relying on importation, a party-list lawmaker on Thursday said improving the production of fish in the country is the “best way” to address the rising fish prices.

Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza made the statement in reaction to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) decision to import some 17,000 metric tons of galunggong (round scad) next month to suppress the soaring prices of fish and ensure food security.

According to the DA, imported galunggong would cost PHP75 to PHP80 per kilo and would be sold directly in local wet markets to help stabilize fish prices.

“It is a band-aid solution that does not really address the problem of falling fish production. It is a miserable supply side intervention,” Atienza said.

“The best way for the government to fight off rising fish or food prices for that matter is by enabling the production of more fish and more food,” Atienza said.

The lawmaker suggested to temporarily close down municipal waters around Metro Manila and Luzon for rehabilitation to revive fish production.

“We cannot expect fish and other marine life to thrive abundantly in our highly toxic municipal waters,” Atienza said.

Meanwhile, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said instead of importing galunggong, the DA should support local fishermen with provisions for proper catch equipment, subsidies, and other support services to increase their catch and help boost their income.

Inflation soared to a fresh five-year high of 5.7 percent in July, mainly due to food and non-alcoholic beverages posting a 7.1 percent annual rate of increase.