China gave us cheap strollers but took our fish, say PH Moms

The Philippines, an archipelago of 7,000 Pacific islands, buys a whopping quarter of its fish imports from China, hence China attacks Filipino fishing boats, discouraging them from their work and building up the orders for fish exports to the Philippines. “Vicious circle of abuse of a neighbour,” decries a Filipino home-care nurse.

“Catastrophic and accumulative environmental damage like that caused by the 900,000 liters of black-muck oil that spilled from the Princess Empress on 28 February at Oriental Mindoro plus overfishing with incredibly poor fisheries management are issues that take the food from the mouths of 115M Filipinos,” says fisherman Freddie in stuttering English, which is paraphrased here, a departure from his local dialect that likely nobody in the world would understand except his own community.

These fisherfolk who deserve the respect and thanks of billions, have an isolated style of living that keeps them working what seems like a little more than 24 hours a day if one counts the arduousness of the work at sea against the natural elements plus the Chinese Navy and China’s scurrilous naval militias.

Add to that the cost to families of the COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of America’s proxy war in Ukraine; and according to the Philipines Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Philippines has in massive numbers, been increasing its imports of fish to feed the country–It can no longer fill its own needs.

Fisher folk must catch more small fish to augment healthy diet of PH Families

Too often the fishing boats stay ashore. Yet few people are as poor as fisherfolk and farmers in the Philippines say fisherfolk here in La Union province. “With their nets, these fisher folk know how to catch the small fish Philippines’ families need to maintain the balance of protein in their diet,” says a humanitarian health care worker interviewed for this article. Photo credit: Melissa Hemingway. Art/Cropping/Enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective-Magazine

War, conflicts at sea, American and Chinese battles for dominance, pollution, poor fisheries management, and China’s greedy overfishing are together malnourishing the people in the Philippines’ provinces.

“The cost of fish like bangus ranges from 130 pesos to 160 pesos per kilo. and tilapia priced at 120 pesos to 150 pesos per kilo.” explains Karinna Angeles, a humanitarian worker with RINJ Women. 

“Here I am doing a wide range of vaccinations in the provinces, and I am seeing that families are suffering food insecurity and also a dearth of protein-rich foods. I want moms and kids back to eating at least some small fish daily for their protein.  People don’t all have 160 peso per kilo for bangus, if you can even find it,” nurse Angeles said. “They are not rich from harvesting the population’s money like the dynasties in Manila,” she added with sarcasm to emphasize her point, whic is that the government in Manila is far out of touch with the reality of the lives among the 85 million Filipinos living outside the big cities.

Cash coming into the Philippines from its overseas worker population sums at 10% of GDP.

Statistics indicate that there is a dire problem of poverty in big cities like Manila. The distance between the haves and the have nots has never been greater say the data. This is worsening as inflation destroys the normal meagre incomes and forces youth to leave the country in search of productive employment.

Filipinos blame China for fishing woes. But it is not all China’s doing. China is the big bully and when stocks are low because of bad fisheries management, China the bully takes all the fish and decides who to sell to.

“The general consensus among the 1,5 million fisherfolk here is that the Chinese have overfished Philippines traditional fisheries waters and with gunboats and naval militia are keeping Philippines fisherfolk from the good stock areas, a big group of folks told me as we sat on some rocks on the sea by La Union province down there near highway 2,” nurse Karinna explained.

“I held a seminar at a barangay hall for some new mothers, and I mean extremely young, not long out of diapers themselves, and among the simple things I taught them was how to make a sour fish stew. The ingredients were easy to find except the fish. The small eateries and home-based stores buy up all the stocks early in the morning and moms can’t find a damn thing to eat unless they pay a super high price to a reseller of the diminished supply. How in God’s name can I teach people to make a fish stew with no damned fish,” she exclaimed.

“I need the fish for their protein. Garlic fried rice, fried eggs, and pork hot dogs are killing my diabetic patients. Bitter gourd is filled with ingredients that lower glucose levels, fight inflammation and keep the kids and the elderly healthy. Fish keeps the bones strong for young mothers and their family.”

“Over twenty years I have seen my recipe for sour fish stew make families healthy again. You can’t eat only fried rice, chayote and calamansi, although good, not enough,” she added with a huff.

Duterte and China helped Babies and Moms.

“Single moms with one or more kids own poverty in the Philippines. They define poverty. But thanks to China, babies have comfy rompers, functional strollers and nice colorful towels,” wrote Melissa Hemingway on 4 Dec 2018 5:17pm, 4 years ago.

“More than half of all children born in Philippines in 2015 and 63% of children born in Manila National Capital Region were illegitimate children as defined by the  Catholic Church in the Philippines.”

 Karinna’s Recipe for Pinangat na Isda

1 ampalaya (bitter gourd)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon sliced or diced ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 chili pepper
500 grams fish fillets, or small fish
1 sliced onion
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup water
4 cloves of crushed garlic
2 cups or more of diced or sliced tomatoes (halved if they are small fruit)
Add calamansi, bilimbi, tamarind according to family’s tastes

Some background reading:

USA lost global dominance to a better China. Can Joe Biden steal that back with a surrogate nuclear navy? In-depth analysis

Rape of women and girls is male privilege in Philippines

No SARS-CoV-2 vaccine gave Philippines kids Me Too Incest

The Philippines has Fallen. The controversial Duterte videos.

An important message to China. Cooperate, Compromise with neighbours say families in Indonesia, Malaysia & Philippines

Solidarity: When a box of PPE gloves was rare in PH, China stepped up.

War with China. A tale of two North American narcissists. [Series Introduction]