MANILA – A first 17,000 tons galunggong or sightseeing flights from Vietnam, Taiwan and China are expected to be shipped to Metro Manila next month, Agriculture Minister Emmanuel Piñol said on Thursday.
This, since he has allowed the import of galunggong for 90 days starting on 1 September to stimulate local food and prevent the price increase of the non-Filipino fish dish.
"For Metro Manila, a first 17,000 tons galunggong Vietnam, Taiwan and China are expected to be imported by stakeholders from the fishing industry, including fishing boat operators, who will hang their nets during the closed fishing season, and organized fishmongers' associations, "said Piñol's Facebook page.
Apart from helping ensure food security and stabilizing the price of galunggong Piñol said that such imports offer the opportunity for the fish to spawn during the three-month fishing season closed from November.
"The closed fishing season is strictly implemented in different fishing grounds of the country to allow fish species such as" tamban "to enter galunggong, mackerel and others to spawn and reproduce, "he said.
The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Agency (BFAR) is working on guidelines for the import of the fish through the country.
This is to protect the public against shipments contaminated with formalin and other harmful substances, it stated.
On Wednesday, BFAR announced that the Philippines will begin importing galunggong, a key ingredient in Filipino's meals, in September.
BFAR units involved already sign details of the guidelines, which are aimed at ensuring this alone galunggong import suitable for human consumption will enter the country and reach the markets.
Import and unloading of galunggong will be in compliance with such guidelines, said BFAR director Eduardo Gongona.
"The imported galunggong is only unloaded in BFAR-accredited cold storage facilities and will be thoroughly inspected to ensure that fish products entering the Philippine market will be safe and free of harmful substances, "Gongona said in a statement on Wednesday.
Fishing group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) warned that the galunggong the land that is imported can be contaminated with formalin, a solution that is also used as a preservative, even for human cadavers.
Gongona said that BFAR and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority will closely monitor the import and unloading of the raw material.
"This is not the first time that the Philippines are imported galunggong from other countries. The country imported fresh / chilled / frozen fish and fisheries / aquatic products, including galunggong, only for preservation and processing purposes, including input by institutional buyers such as hotels and restaurants, as permitted by law since years ago, "he added.
Fisheries Administrative Order 195 series of 1999 allows such imports.
BFAR hopes to come up with the guidelines this month, because agriculture minister Emmanuel Piñol has already issued the Certificate of Necessity last week. galunggong import period of 90 days, starting September 1 this year "or until previously withdrawn by the Minister of Agriculture."
This week BFAR reported collecting galunggong samples of Balintawak Market and Farmers Market in Metro Manila to test for possible presence of formalin and other harmful substances.
Results of the laboratory tests may be available for the weekend, BFAR said. (PNA)