Fishing and allied industries here will lose about PHP300 million in revenues with the implementation of the four-day partial lockdown of the city fish port complex starting Wednesday due to rising coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.
Rosanna Bernadette Contreras, executive director of the Soccsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII), said Tuesday the figure was based on the projected combined income of the industry during the period.
Contreras cited that last year, the industry contributed about PHP420 million to the local economy on a weekly basis.
She said to minimize the potential economic loss, they lobbied with the city government to set the partial closure of the fish port in Barangay Tambler to four days instead of seven.
The local government announced on Monday the lockdown of markets 1 to 3 of the fish port from September 2 to 5 to decontaminate the area and trace those who had contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases while at the port.
The move was the first for the fish port, which caters to thousands of workers and traders daily since it opened in 1997.
“We’re hoping that the full contact-tracing and related activities will be completed as scheduled so we can avoid further losses,” Contreras said in a radio interview.
She said SFFAII is currently assisting the local government and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), which manages the fish port, in preparing concerned stakeholders for the lockdown.
This includes the creation of the Barangay or Fish Port Covid Control Force, which will be composed of representatives of companies operating at port, the city police, City Health Office, and Barangay Tambler officials and volunteers.
Contreras acknowledged that the situation at the fish port is a major challenge, especially in terms of implementing health protocols, such as wearing face masks and face shields, and observing safe physical distancing.
Based on PFDA data, the 32-hectare fish port hosts more than 3,000 workers, while a substantial number of buyers and fishermen gather daily in its markets and port area, she said.
Contreras said the scenario could have contributed to the spread of Covid-19, which was confirmed to have infected some local workers and buyers coming from other areas.
“There (are) many challenges that should be addressed and we need to have extensive dialogues to come up with effective control measures to stop the spread of the disease,” she added. (PNA)