TAGBILARAN CITY – Seaweeds farmers of Bien-Unido tow, about 120 kms north of here, the seaweeds capital of Central Visayas are at the receiving end when price war ensued after Malaysian businessmen buy the seaweed produced at very low price, Provincial Board Member Gerry Cutamora Garcia said in an interview. The son of island town of President Carlos P. Garcia, BM Garcia, in his instant privilege speech during the regular session yesterday, wanted the provincial board (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) to conduct an investigation over the said price competition.
He expressed lament that the foreigners took their studies in the country, including this town, but now are competing with the islanders in seaweed growing venture, like the Hingotanan island, that is composed of two barangays.
He said he received reports from seaweed growers themselves of this island who expressed worry and fear that their produce may be affected as a result of very low price being peddled by buyers from abroad.
The seaweeds concern is now referred to the committees on agriculture and trade and industry of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Garcia said following his motion during the session presided over by Vice-Gov. Concepcion O. Lim.
He said that if needed the probe would be undertaken in said island, where his fellow board member Atty. Tomas Abapo, Jr. hails from.
It will be recalled that the continuing dry spell that brought about extreme heat taken toll to the multi-million dollar industry in the faraway barangays Hingutanan island, off this town, about an hour by motorized banca from this seaweed capital town.
In his radio program, Antonieto Pernia, a trusted lieutenant of Congressman Aris Aumentado, (2nd district of Bohol) bared this latest report that indeed seaweeds drying in the island, comprised of Hingutanan East and Hingutanan West, are destroyed by extreme heat.
The dire situation worsened by the fact that inhabitants here badly need water to drink and other uses, Pernia said. Islanders mainly rely on rain water being deposited thru rain collector to the cisterns.
But Congressman Aumentado came in rescue of the seaweed farmers by pitching fund assistance in the amount of Php150,000 sourced out from the Department of Labor and Emplyment, Pernia said.
But the financial assistance may not be sufficient for the islanders’ daily bread because they have no income as their plantations are adversely affected by the dry spell, he said. (rvo)
In his hometown, seaweeds about to be harvested had been destroyed by typhoon last December that cost the farmers millions of pesos in losses, officials said. (rvo)