Makabayan bloc calls for stoppage of galunggong importation

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29) — Minority lawmakers on Wednesday filed a resolution in a bid to nullify the 'galunggong' or round scad importation order by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The solons filed House Resolution 2106, which calls on the Congress to invalidate the administrative order approved by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on August 16.

The resolution, passed by Representatives Ariel Casilao, Carlos Zarate, Emmi De Jesus, Antonio Tinio, Arlene Brosas, France Castro and Sarah Jane Elago, strongly rejected the planned importation of 17,000 metric tons of galunggong.

It noted the move is just a "band-aid solution" for food security in the country.

The Agriculture Department, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), announced it will allow imported fish to enter the local wet markets beginning September.

Piñol, in an interview with CNN Philippines, said this will be done to address the low production supply of the fish product, which equates to higher prices.

Galunggong, a staple viand of Filipino families, now costs P140 to P160 per kilogram in wet markets.

READ: Roque says high prices of rice, fish won't last long

The Palace had backed the importation order, but the lawmakers urged concerned stakeholders to instead address the "fundamental issues of the fisheries sector."

The issues cited in the resolution include protecting the rights to livelihood of the small fisherfolk sector, and promoting genuine fisheries and aquatic reforms.

Consumer groups and fisherfolk have continued to criticize the importation. They urged the government to focus on strengthening local production, instead of relying on importation and exportation.

Netizens have also been vocal with their rejections, saying that importing these food products may feel like a slap to an 'agricultural country.'