Press Release
July 14, 2008

Villar asks Senate to probe plight
of small fishers and fishing industry

Senate President Manny Villar filed Senate Resolution No. 504 urging the Senate committees on agriculture and food, and social justice and human rights to inquire into the plight of fishermen and the fishing industry in the wake of recent calamities.

Villar said the triple scourge of the typhoon, the sunken ship, and the high cost of fuel devastated small fishers and the fishing industry the most, and they deserve to be helped.

To avert a crisis in the fishing industry, a well-planned program aimed at alleviating the plight of the fishing sector must be mapped out and implemented immediately, the Nacionalista Party president said.

By conducting a Senate inquiry, Villar said the Senate can hear and consider all the issues and concerns of the fishing industry and small fishermen which have been gravely neglected at this most trying time.

The Senate President earlier met with members of the Alliance of Philippine Fishing Federations at the Navotas Fish Port.

Villar, who used to sell shrimps in the wet market, explained that nearly half of the total catch of fish and seafood in the country is made by municipal and subsistence fishers who operate small boats in shallow coastal waters.

Fisheries is also a substantial component of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act enacted in 1997 to protect the agriculture and fishing sector, the Senate President said.

Villar said initial recommendations to avert a crisis in the fish industry include fuel discount and livelihood support to fishermen, expanding the loan portfolio of banking and financial institutions for the purchase of second-hand vessels, among others.

Meantime, fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) is preparing for a nationwide fish strike in early August, wherein instead of going off to the sea for fishing, fishers will conduct community-based protests like fluvial parades or flotilla activities.

The IBON Data Bank reported that diesel prices increased by 607 percent since the start of deregulation in 1996 while pump prices of unleaded gas increased by 492 percent.

News Latest News Feed