Big rally set today in protest vs export levy on fishery products PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 July 2011 15:35

Officers and members of a big labor union and officials and employees of canning factories and fishing groups are set to hold a big peaceful rally today in front of  the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) along R.T. Lim Boulevard in protest against a BFAR administrative order that imposes what is described as “exorbitant export fee which will render the Philippine fishery products not competitive in the world market.”

Jose J. Suan, president of the Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union (PIILO), an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), said in his letter to Mayor Celso Lobregat seeking permission for the holding of the rally today that BFAR Administrative Order No. 233 is “anti-labor” and will affect some 30,000 jobs in Zamboanga City alone.

“We do not want to lose jobs especially in this difficult time. We have to protect and defend our jobs as our basic human rights,” Suan said.
In behalf of Mayor Lobregat, City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. has granted permission for the rally today on the following conditions: It will be confined only within the sidewalk fronting BFAR Office at R.T. Lim Boulevard; it will not block the streets/roads at the vicinity; the organizer will police their ranks and absolutely no uttering of lewd/unsavory remarksat a particular group of individuals/class or of religious beliefs; the organizer shall maintain cleanliness of the place, streamers/placards used in the peaceful conduct of the activity shall be brought back by theorganizer and not left or thrown on streets or canals and that after the conduct of the activity, the rallyists shall peacefully disperse.

Earlier, the Industrial Group of Zamboanga, Inc (IGZI) together with the Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association, Inc (SOPHIL) and the Zamboanga City
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation (ZCCCIF) held a forum last Tuesday to discuss BFAR Administrative Order No. 233 and its implications on Tuesday July 19, 2011.

In a statement, IGZI President George G. Ledesma said that despite the fact that Zamboanga City and the Zamboanga Peninsula are considered major sources of the marine export products and resources, the various multi-stakeholders here —  sardines companies, processed marine product companies, seaweeds processors, and others—  were never consuited nor heard when FAO No. 233 was issued and promulgated.

FAO No. 233 imposes a 3% export levy on Gross Export Value on all economically important species that include among others sardines, tuna, seaweeds, octopus, squids, shrimps, lobsters etc.

This levy, according to Ledesma, would greatly affect the export oriented industries here which provide no less than 30,000 jobs in Zamboanga City alone, not to mention the other places in the Peninsula and other regions not only in Mindanao but as well as in the Visayas.

“It would make these export-oriented industries less, or for some industries no longer, competitive in the world market which wiil eventually prejudice their employment generating capacities thus adversely impacting on the economic condition of the country in general,” Ledesma said.

FAO No. 223 was promulgated pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9147 which was a consolidation of House Bill No. 10622 and Senate Bill No. 2128 otherwise known as “An Act Providing for the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources and Their Habitats. Appropriating Funds Thereof and for Other Purposes”