200 join protest rally against export levy Print
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 15:34

Some 200 placard-bearing canning factory workers joined a rally yesterday morning  in protest against a BFAR administrative order that imposes what they described as “exorbitant export fee which will render the Philippine fishery products not competitive in the world market.”

The protesters gathered outside the Bureau of Fisheries Aquatic Resources building along R.T. Lim Boulevard and called on the said office to stop the implementation of Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 233 which will force export oriented companies in this city to retrench their work force.

The factory workers led by Ramon Elumbra Jr., president of the Samahan ng Mangagawa Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union, were joined by members of the Industrial Group of Zamboanga (IGZ) under president Eng. George Ledesma and the Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union (PIILU), Southern Philippines Deep Sea Association inc. (Sophil) and the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc.

Elumbra told newsmen that FAO No. 233 series of 2010 was promulgated pursuant to R.A. 9147 which provides for a levy of three percent on the Gross Export Value on all kinds of economically important species that include among others sardines, shrimps, tuna, seaweeds, octopus, squid, lobsters etc.
He said the imposition of the export levy is exorbitant which will render the Philippine fishery products not competitive in the world market hence, will greatly affect the industries as well as the 30,000 workers in Zamboanga City alone.

“This will result to the closure of our companies and thereby affecting our livelihood,” Elumbra said.
Zamboanga City and the entire Zamboanga Peninsula are major sources of these mentioned products and the various stakeholders, sardine companies, processed marine product companies, seaweed processors and others were never consulted on the issue, according to Elumbra.

BFAR Officer in Charge Abdul Kadil Manick said there was a consultation with the different stakeholders last July 19, 2011 in one of the hotels in this city where in solutions to the problem were discussed.

Pedling Munap, Chief Fisheries Resources Management Division, said FAO No.233 had already been promulgated last April 2010 but BFAR has not implemented it yet.
“Actually this is the collection of fees from local transport “inclusive” involving the gathering, collecting, transporting and selling of fisheries and aquatic products,” Munap said.

He said the imposition of the three percent export levy is not only in this city but in the entire country.