Expensive prices of fish PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2018 11:44

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

Long before Dadiangas (now General Santos City), became known as the city of tuna , Zamboanga City was already known as the Mecca of all kinds of fish. Fishing boat owners, coming from Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, brought their catch to the city and sold them here.

In the 60’s and early 70’s one with only a hundred of pesos can buy good quality of white fishes like Tarakito, Lapu-Lapu and Maya-Maya at very cheap prices. Zamboangueños before only eat white fishes. One could hardly find them eating Tamban, Galunggung, Bangus, Tilapia, Tulingan, and even Caballas.

It was period of abundance. There was a plethora of fishes of different varieties in the market and one can buy them anytime of the day. Their prices become even more cheap at the close of the day because there was still no ice storage to preserve their unsold fishes for the next day.

In the late 70’s, however, buyers from the big cities in the country started coming to our city to buy first class fishes (I mean “white fishes”), bring and sell them in their places at exorbitant prices for profit. These buyers found the practice very profitable because their fish stocks are bought by first class restaurants and hotels.

Fishing boat owners have likewise learned selling their fishes directly to these buyers at very good prices to the detriment of local denizens. They reasoned out that if they can earn more, why sell their fishes at the local market? Besides, it takes more time to sell them.

This eventually became the practice of fish boat owners and sellers and it jacked up the prices of fishes. Worse, locals could hardly find good quality of fishes because they were already sold and some readied to be shipped out to places like Manila, Cebu, Davao, Cotabato, Gensan, Dipolog, Pagadian and some nearby municipalities. Fishes and other seafood varieties coming from Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi are now sold and shipped even to Hongkong, Japan, and Korea. This practice has likewise contributed to the scarcity of quality sea foods in the city.

Today, this disgusting practice became even more appalling with the entry of KCC Mall in the fish market as a bigtime buyer. Early in the morning, its female buyers, dressed in sweaters and white rubber boots, bringing with them wads of P1,000 bills, would buy in large quantities all first class varieties of fish, leaving local consumers almost nothing more to buy. These fishes are then sold at their mall at higher prices. The ordinary Caballas which are priced at P90 per kilo, are priced at P120 or P130. The prices of Yellow Fin Tuna, Maya-Maya, Pugot, Galunggung, Tamban, Lapu-Lapu, even shrimps, latu, curacha, and clams are exorbitant. But many are still buying these fishes in their fish market located in the grocery, because the area is dry, clean, and the air is not foul-smelling and polluted.

With these developments, the ordinary Zamboangueño who were before not used to eating ordinary fishes are now forced to buy and eat the lowly Galunggung, Tamban, Flying fish, Pagi and even the small fish called “rebentador”. Others, instead of buying the classy Lapu-Lapu, Tarakito, and Tanguingue are now buying chicken, pork, and beef meat instead.

Time will come when we could hardly eat fish which is a healthy practice. Our city government should find ways how to control their sale and quantity to out-of-town buyers. Also, KCC Mall must not compete with local buyers at the market by purchasing all the available good quality of fishes.

Pobre man si Tal Pulano.