Group urges consumers to patronize Pinoy-made products for Christmas

A food security and livelihood advocacy group on Monday urged Filipino consumers to buy Christmas gifts from their community food producers and patronize Filipino-made products.

Tugon Kabuhayan, in a news statement, said buying Christmas gifts from locals would make Christmas merrier for community food producers.

“We have always been consistent in our advocacy of supporting local food producers. We urge everyone to buy from our food producers, including micro, small, and medium enterprises [MSMEs]. Whenever we buy from them, we not only boost the sale of their products but also ensure they have a stable source of income,” said Asis Perez, Tugon Kabuhayan convenor.

As the economy recovers from the pandemic, Tugon Kabuhayan said local food producers are stepping up their production for both the domestic and export market.

For its part, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hosts local trade fairs showcasing local products and produce from farmers, fishermen, and local MSMEs.

Honeylee Eclavea, Trade and Industry Development Specialist of DTI-Quezon, said that the One Town One Product (OTOP) program has been upgraded to OTOP Next Generation to highlight not just one product.

“We want to try a fresh, new concept. The product should be unique, compliant with product standards and certified under FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and License to Operate [LTO]. Through OTOP Next Gen, we are improving the packaging and labeling of one food product. We are also promoting mandatory labeling requirements,” said DTI’s OTOP Coordinator in Quezon.

“Buy local, shop at the local trade center. When you buy their products, you help the local farmers, local manufacturers and the community. Support the products made by Filipinos,” Eclavea added.

‘Fishy’ issue

IN a related development, Tugon Kabuhayan also expressed its support to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in its plan to strictly implement Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 195 series of 1999, which prohibits the entry of imported fish into domestic wet markets if not covered by Certificate of Necessity to Import (CNI).

“The effort of BFAR in informing wet market operators that imported pink salmon and pompano should not be sold in wet markets is a welcome development—both for the food safety of our consuming public and the economic security of our fisherfolk,” said Perez, a former BFAR national director.

Tugon Kabuhayan emphasized that these imported products should be kept frozen to be thawed out only when about to be cooked, adding exposing these in the wet market environment is a likely health hazard as studies indicate that doing so speeds up the multiplication of microorganisms.

“The flooding of products not covered by CNI also puts our local producers at a disadvantage and has proven to be detrimental to local production, resulting in huge economic losses to our local fisherfolk,” Perez added.


But the Fisheries and Aquaculture Board of the Philippines (FAB), in a letter to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., asked the chief executive to maintain the status quo and continue to allow access of imported seafood to wet markets, supermarkets and online markets until the new FAO shall have been finalized.

The BFAR has declared illegal to sell salmon, salmon heads, salmon bellies and imported pompano in the wet markets. The bureau would start confiscating these imported fish starting December 4.

“Coupled to this, BFAR issued a Legal Opinion in 2020 that all marketplaces, including supermarkets and online markets are to be considered as wet markets. Hence all supermarkets will not be allowed to sell salmon [and other imported seafood]. Supermarkets are already informing their suppliers to pull out all stocks by December 5,” said FAB.

“This is causing turmoil not only in the wet markets but also in supermarkets. The economic impact and disruption will be severe across the supply chain—from importers to wholesalers to retailers to fish vendors and ultimately to hospitality/food service and consumers,” it added.

According to the group, the Philippines suffer an annual supply deficit in seafood of 1,465,000 metric tons of which galunggong accounts for 400,000 metric tons.

“As a result, affordable imported seafood has found their way into the small restaurants and consumers via supermarkets and wet markets. This has been the case since FAO 195 was issued. For the past decades BFAR had tacitly allowed fish vendors in the wet markets and supermarkets to merchandise imported seafood.

As stated previously, in 2020 the Legal Opinion was presented, which effectively lumped supermarkets with wet markets, despite the fact that all government agencies and regulations clearly distinguish one from the other,” it added.

“Needless to say, this could not come at a worse time. Consumers are hard pressed for affordable seafood and the markets are being prevented from offering the same,” it said.

FAB said it has been working with BFAR on their draft to consolidate FAO 195 and FAO 259 into one harmonized order that would address the above issues of market access, as well as availability and affordability. It will also reconcile with RA 8550.

“Hence, we appeal to Your Excellency to maintain the status quo and continue to allow access of imported seafood to wet markets, supermarkets and online markets until the new FAO shall have been finalized. We look forward to this Christmas gift to our sector and to the nation,” said FAB.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

ERC okays DER draft rules in bid to ‘democratize’ power grid

Next Article

Two UCCP pastors seek SC protection vs alleged ‘red-tagging’ by military officers

Related Posts