BY ROGER M. BALANZA
A fishermen’s organization has warned round scad or galunggong the country is importing could contain cancer-causing formalin.
The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) issued the warning as 17,000 tons of the important fish are set to arrive in September to flood wet markets.
According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), formalin, a chemical used in preserving cadavers, could cause cancer when ingested with contaminated fish.
Pamalakaya, in a statement, appealed to Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Pinol to withdraw DA’s importation order “for the sake of the safety of the Filipino public.”
The galunggong importation controversy comes as Pinol and the DA are under fire for rising prices of rice.
Several sectors have called for the resignation of Pinol as per kilo price of rice in some areas reached the P70 mark.
Pinol said the round scad importation would suppress current stiff rise in fish prices.
But Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap also said the imported galunggong would affect the livelihood of small-fisherfolk and urged the government to instead focus on how to improve fishery production.
“What is needed is for the government to boost and develop the capabilities of local fishers and ensure post-harvest facilities against spoilage of harvested fish,” Hicap said.
Pamalakaya, according to Hicap, will launch a campaign for the public not to buy the imported galunggong.