A high-ranking Boholano official of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) on Wednesday blamed the existence of a cartel in the province as the culprit behind the longstanding problem on exorbitant fish prices in the province.
CDA administrator Benjie Oliva, during the opening of the Central Visayas Cooperative Congress at the Bohol Tropics in Tagbilaran City, said that fish prices in the province are controlled by only a few families and individuals.
However, Oliva did not name any of those involved in the so-called fish cartel.
He said that addressing the problem is a big challenge for local government officials but acknowledged that there had been significant strides to craft solutions.
“As far as I know, the provincial government has efforts under Gov. Chatto,” said Oliva in Cebuano. “I will not preempt. I know that they have efforts, it would be better if they were the ones to announce.”
Oliva pointed out the Bohol Seaweeds Multipurpose Cooperative as part of measures utilized by the government to mitigate the exorbitant fish prices in the province.
“I’m just thankful that the vehicle they considered is a cooperative,” he said. “They may have seen that it is better that a business is handled by someone with business sense.”
The CDA official also urged the Department of Trade and Industry to boost efforts in regulating fish costs in the province.
“We hope that DTI would step up as this also part of their role in price regulation and take notice as this is a big issue in our province,” Oliva added.
For its part, the Bohol Provincial Board’s committee on agriculture chaired by Board Member Abeleon Damalerio is set to conduct an inquiry into the issue on expensive sea-caught fish being sold in markets across the island-province.
The persistent problem on fish costs was raised last week by Board Members Kristine Alexie Tutor and Tomas Abapo Jr. before their colleagues in the PB which, in turn, set up the probe. (R. Tutas)