ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/17 July) – The Zamboanga City-based Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association, Inc. (SOPHIL) is opposing the government’s decision to lower the suggested retail price of canned sardines by as much as 95 centavos.
The Department of Trade and Industry has lowered the SRP of canned sardines To P12.80 from the previous P13.50 to P13.75.
The decision was announced by DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo during the July 10 National Price Coordinating Council meeting in Manila.
SOPHIL executive vice president Roberto Baylosis on Tuesday said they are opposing the DTI’s decision since it would have a “domino effect” on them citing the canning industries “will ask us to lower our price.”
Baylosis emphasized that lowering the selling price of tamban would no longer be viable vis-à-vis some factors. He cited unpredictable weather condition brought about by the climate change as well as the frequent price increases of petroleum products.
He noted that the DTI based its decision on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources report that the wet market price of tamban ranged from P20 to P32 per kilo for the months of April and May.
The canneries on the other hand pay P24 to P28 per kilo for SOPHIL tamban catch deliveries depending on the sizes.
Baylosis said the wet market selling price should not be made as the basis in fixing the canned sardines’ SRP since the tamban being sold in the wet markets “are the non-canning grade materials.”
Tamban is the main fish species being used by canning factories in producing sardines.
SOPHIL board of directors member Eugene Yap said the selling prices of tamban for canning should be P27 a kilo or higher to be able to sustain a viable operation.
Yap said the cost of fuel comprises the bulk of their operational expenses because “you have to search for the fish since they transfer from one place to the other.”
He added that sometimes they would spend up to 2,000 liters of fuel in “searching and catching nothing.”
Aside from fuel, they also pay salary to the association’s 3,500 workers based on the minimum wage law plus incentive catch payment, Baylosis said.
SOPHIL supplies 70 percent of the tamban fish needed in the production of canned sardines by the canneries based in this city.
The association has 11 member fishing companies that maintain 36 fish-catcher boats and other auxiliary vessels like light boats, search boats and carrier boats. (MindaNews)