PAMALAKAYA airs doubts on new DA chief appointee
PAMALAKAYA airs doubts on new DA chief appointee
PAMALAKAYA airs doubts on new DA chief appointee
by Ada Pelonia06 November 2023
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National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines (PAMALAKAYA) on Sunday, Nov. 5, bared their doubts on the newly-appointed Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr.

“May agam-agam kami sa bagong halal na secretary ng DA kasi meron kaming nakikita na conflict of interest eh [...] Kumbaga conflict of interest yung karanasan niya bilang businessman tapos siya ay magsisilbi sa departamento ng ating bayan,” PAMALAKAYA National President Fernando Hicap told DZRH on Sunday, Nov. 5

“Kung ang practice niya ay sa business, yan ang kinakabahala na baka yung mga polisiya at programang itutulong niya during secretary ng departamento ay sa pagpapalakas ng mga business kasi yun yung kanyang expertise,” Hicap added.

The PAMALAKAYA president also underscored that if Laurel were to advance business agenda during his post, it would hit poor families and fisherfolks while hindering the achievement of food security in the country.

“Kung ganun, kawawa yung mga mamamayan nating naghihirap lalo na yung mga mangingisda at walang pagbabago at hindi natin makakamit yung food security. Mananatili yung patuloy na kakulangan ng supply sa pagkain natin at ganun din yung patuloy na pagtaas ng [presyo ng] pagkain.”

‘There will always be a catch’

PAMALAKAYA also released their statement on Monday, Nov. 5, saying that “there will always be a catch” when a business tycoon gets appointed for a government post.

“There will always be a catch when a business tycoon is appointed in a government position. We can’t help but be extra cautious with the new Agriculture chief knowing his background as the owner of one of the country’s biggest fishing corporations, operating more than a hundred of large-scale commercial fishing fleets,” their statement read.

The fisherfolk organization also claimed that Frabelle Corporation, Laurel’s family business, used the destructive trawling method in their fishing operations before engaging in deep sea and tuna purse seine fishing.

According to PAMALAKAYA, this action exhausted fish and corals within the municipal waters that were intended for small fisherfolk.

“This also makes us believe that Mr. Tiu-Laurel Jr. is behind the proposed amendments of the Fisheries Code that will give commercial fishing vessels access within the 15-kilometer municipal waters,” it further read.

Meanwhile, PAMALAKAYA Vice Chairperson Ronnel Arambulo said they will “keep an eye” on the new DA chief and will not allow him to “use his crucial post to advance business agenda instead of the needed public service.”

“The agri-fisheries industry is ailing, with our farmers and fishers being the country’s poorest sectors. We demand significant and genuine reforms in agri-fisheries policies that will be in favor of our local food producers and rural sectors,” Arambulo added.

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