Fish from Zamboanga may decrease due to Capitol’s EO ban on ‘wet goods’

Fish vendors check the fish coming from Zamboanga Peninsula at the Cebu City Fish Market in Barangay Pasil on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024.
Fish vendors check the fish coming from Zamboanga Peninsula at the Cebu City Fish Market in Barangay Pasil on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. GUAM LOGROÑO

THE fish supply in Cebu City or Metro Cebu may be affected if the implementation of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s order, which imposes a ban on the entry of “wet goods in unsanitary conditions” in the province, continues.

Some fish suppliers, particularly those from Zamboanga Peninsula, have complained that the governor’s Executive Order (EO) 2, series of 2024, may hinder the delivery of fish to their clients in Cebu if they are apprehended due to water leaks from their trucks.

Jaime Calelo, 66, was among those who expressed their concerns over E0 2, which was issued by Garcia on Jan. 10, 2024.

“It has been observed that the transport of wet goods, such as agricultural products, meats, seafood, liquids and chemicals, often occurs in unsanitary conditions,” reads a portion of EO 2.

The order enumerates the unsanitary conditions such as the use of open containers (banyeras) or recycled leaking styrofoam, overflowing containers, improper drainage, presence of dirt or debris, unsanitary packaging materials and improper ventilation.

According to EO 2, these conditions “pose significant risks to public health and safety,” including the “spread of foodborne illnesses, environmental hazards, traffic accidents and unpleasant orders.”

Water leaks

Calelo said in an interview on Sunday, Feb. 4, at the Cebu City Fish Market (formerly Pasil Fish Port), that there might be water leaks during their delivery because of the long-distance travel.

However, he said their fish are clean, sealed in closed vans or wing vans, and packed in double layers of styrofoam containers. Upon arrival at the fish market, their fish are in good condition, free from any unpleasant odor or dirt.

Calelo said the fish they bring significantly contributes to the fish supply in Cebu, distributed to various markets in Metro Cebu and Cebu province.

He said around 10 large fish trucks arrive daily in Cebu City from Zamboanga Peninsula, and the fish undergo inspection by the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources before going to Cebu.

Inconvenient route

Ralph Rosaraga, a truckboy, also expressed their challenges in transporting fish to Cebu.

Instead of taking the convenient and inexpensive route from Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte to Oslob, Cebu port, they now opt to board a ship that sails directly to the Cebu City pier to avoid inspections in the province.

Rosaraga said some fish trucks passing through Oslob port were reportedly turned back due to water leaks.

Cebu City Fish Market employee Era Ariosa, 62, said she understood the sentiment of people involved in fish delivery, adding that the fish are clean because they are placed in a closed van or wing van with a freezer.

Ariosa said trucks that deliver hogs and chickens are the ones that emit a bad odor.

She said fish supplies from Bohol, Negros Island and northern Cebu are not enough for the whole Cebu province.


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