Press Releases

Salceda wants tariffs from fish imports for fisherfolk subsidies; House tax chair wants BFAR to expedite construction, feasibility studies for hatcheries

February 23rd, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is proposing that tariff revenues from fish imports be used to subsidize fisherfolk, particularly marginal and municipal fishermen, arguing that “a flowback mechanism for the domestic sector” should be present for all import tariff revenues.

“About 63% of fishing-dependent households are poor. That is the largest of any sector in the country. And imports tend to displace their livelihoods further. So, there has to be a flowback mechanism where they benefit from import tariff revenues.”

“At the top, we can extend production support. For the middle, it’s value-chain and market-facilitation, as well as the hatcheries that BFAR constructs. But at the bottom, we really need subsidies,” Salceda added.

Salceda made the pronouncements during the committee hearing of the House Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries to discuss House Bill No. 4859, which proposes providing a fuel subsidy for municipal fisherfolk. The committee is chaired by Rep. Alfredo Maranon III.

Salceda also said that “at the proper time, and through the author [Rep. Gustavo Tambunting],” he will “propose amendments to include the tariff flowback mechanism.”

Salceda also appealed to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to strengthen their first-border inspection of fish imports, “which are one of the most heavily smuggled products,” so that the tariff revenues can be collected. As Ways and Means Chair, Salceda oversees the Bureau of Customs on behalf of the House of Representatives.

“Expedite completion of legislated hatcheries”

Salceda also urged the BFAR to expedite the completion of some 54 legislated hatcheries, emphasizing that “only three have been fully completed.”

Salceda also suggested that the BFAR access grant funds from the Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) project, a P12.5 billion loan of the Philippine government with the World Bank. The loan is set to go online this year.

“Although the project scope is only limited to certain areas, the technical assistance component could perhaps be used for the feasibility studies for the legislated hatcheries. It seems that that is a significant holdup, as it takes the BFAR currently about a year to complete, given in house capacity,” Salceda said.

Salceda added that he will write President Marcos and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to consider adding feasibility study preparation in the technical assistance package.

“I will appeal to PBBM and the DOF to allow the BFAR to access funds from FishCoRe towards pre-project requirements for our hatcheries. Para matapos na ang mga yan,” Salceda added.

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