Villar’s job is to promote and protect interests of small fishers and consumers against galunggong price shocks – Anakpawis

Villar’s job is to promote and protect interests of small fishers and consumers against galunggong price shocks – Anakpawis

Manila, Philippines – After the remark of Senate Chairperson on Agriculture and Food, and Fisheries Cynthia Villar that consumers should avoid buying gulunggong as its price is steep, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao reminded her that it is her job is to craft legislative measures that promote and protect the interests of small fishers and poor consumers in the country.

“With all the power on her hands, she chose to issue the callous remark, instead of digging conscientiously on the causes of the price shocks and identify who actually benefited in profiteering,” the former lawmaker said in a press statement.

He added that the senator should worry because under her watch as committee chairperson of the concerned senate committees, the galunggong issue is an added fall on self-sufficiency on food items, following rice. Rice self-sufficiency was at 95.01 in 2016, 93.44 in 2017, and 86.17 in 2018. Meanwhile, galunggong was at 99.64 in 2016, 98.57 in 2017 and 96.94 in 2018, when 17,000 metric tons were imported.

“It appears that self-sufficiency is not on Villar’s agenda, but a staunch advocate of importation, such as in the case of rice,” he added.

Based on government data, the volume of production of galunggong dramatically fell from 211,000 metric tons in 2016, to 183,000 MT in 2017, to the lowest 168,000 in 2018. In 2018, almost all of the regions except for Caraga and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao posted declines in production.

“The trend in galunggong production for the past years is dismal but the executive and legislative branch appear undaunted. But in the present circumstance, the prices in Metro Manila reached to more than P300 per kilo but in Basilan, 12 pieces are at P50. Does this fail to trigger the senator’s curiosity?”

Finally, he urged consumer sectors to formally act against the rising prices of galunggong as this is contrary to food security and demand decisive actions from the Duterte government.

“The poor’s food choices are already limited, and now we are hearing a senator downplaying the situation who suddenly became a diet counselor,” he ended. ###

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