Multiple gov’t agencies expected at SP’s fish price inquiry

Several officials from various government agencies are expected to join as resource persons in the Bohol Provincial Board’s (PB) committee-level inquiry into the longstanding issue on exorbitant fish prices in the province.

The probe, led by the PB’s committee on agriculture, will be held tomorrow at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan conference room, said Board Member Abeleon Damalerio.

Assistant provincial agriculturist Larry Pamugas and officials of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have been requested to also join the inquiry.

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Various organizations under the fishing industry in Tagbilaran City, Talibon and Tubigon are also expected to attend.

According to Damalerio who chairs the investigating committee, the endeavor is mainly intended to ferret out the real reason behind expensive sea-caught fish in the island province.

The inquiry was set after Board Member Tomas Abapo Jr. raised the issue through a privilege speech during a regular session of the PB last month and amid persistent public clamor for cheaper fish.

Earlier, the BFAR had admitted that fish costs in Bohol have indeed been higher than those of neighbor province Cebu and other localities.

Various claims have also previously emerged in efforts to determine the real factors behind the province’s fish prices which the public has consistently deemed unreasonable.

BFAR Bohol officer Leo Bongalos said that fishes caught in the province’s waters are mostly shipped to Cebu and sold there, causing the decrease in supply for Bohol.

Meanwhile, Cooperative Development Authority administrator Benjie Oliva recently alleged that a cartel comprised of a few families and individuals has been controlling fish prices in the province. (R. Tutas)



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