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Monday, January 10, 2011

Steps to balance fish
supply-demand, on
GOVERNOR Edgar Chatto has encouraged local government units to create their own municipal price coordinating councils in efforts to involve local stakeholders in addressing the high price of fish and other basic commodities.
During the Consultative Forum called by Capitol to engage national government agencies, local government unit heads, provincial legislators and stakeholders in crafting winning solutions for Bohol’s problems, the governor said steps to balance the fish supply and demand is ongoing.
This as he also apprised head of agencies in Bohol about what has been done to address the soaring price of fish which affects most of Tagbilaran and nearby towns.
“Despite clear indications that the coming of the cold season dents on fish harvest, the problem of fish production scarcity is complicated by lesser commercial fishing boats landing their catch in Bohol,” said Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources head Cresencio Pahamutang lately.
The government has also noted that the scarcity of inputs and help that marginal fishermen are getting push them to get to borrowing from outside sources, which are paid in the forms of fish harvest, further depleting resources that could have otherwise help fill the demand gap, Chatto admitted at the forum.
Not really lying down in utter surrender for the apparent government helplessness at controlling the price, Chatto said Capitol and stakeholders have taken steps to address the issue.
On matters where the steps need both the action of national, provincial and municipal leaders, he said he has issued Executive Order 29 creating the PCCC whose tasks cover monitoring of all goods and services including their pricing.
Another memorandum Circular has directed mayors to implement price tag law and the immediate posting of municipal price monitoring boards whose tasks include daily monitoring at fish landing, bagsakan centers and all fish displayed in markets.
“Under the law, mayors have police powers” Chatto reminded local chief executives, urging them to use these.
As to the problem of financial assistance for fisherfolks, he said a guideline for implementing financial assistance programs to fishery organizations and cooperatives in the provinces has been set. He also dared mayors to put up financial assistance so that the funds given could also be counterparted by the province.
This is to assure that fishermen get access to financial help from within and not be forced to sell their catch outside where supply release can be controlled for an easy price manipulation, he hinted.
Chatto has pointed out that even local data gathered points to a serious lack of production which can not cope up with the demand. 
He said collecting catch data from 12 big time fishers, municipal marginal fishermen and other traders who get their fish from outside Bohol shows a clear gap between supply and demand.
To keep an abundant catch from spoiling, Cahtto said a memorandum circular has also been issued directing LGUS to put up storage facilities and to make an accounting of small time and commercial fishers to get reliable data.
On this BFAR regional director Andres Bojos said the data could also include the kind of fishing gear used so that the data on the kind of fish caught can be included.
Capitol has also issued guidelines in personnel deputation for price monitoring as well as legal representatives to represent Bohol in particular cases.
To keep a buffer stock of mariculture produce, the governor added that guidelines for the freshwater backyard production have been issued.
All of these are aimed to keep the supply close to the demand and possibly alter the economics of pricing, local observers said. (racPIABohol)

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