By Johnny R. Lee
The series of articles on the seaweed industry by this writer may not seem to be appealing to most readers, apparently because it is an issue that is not relevant to the prevailing problems that this country are facing: mainly the pandemic and the consequences that it has brought to the country’s economy and the rising unemployment. The other factor is the ‘election fever’ which is already in the air – as politicians and political parties are already in active mood – flaunting, discussing and speculating who’s who in the ticket especially for the national positions at stake.
It is sad to note that in times of crises like this country is facing, everything else is relegated to second priorities below politics.
The Tawi-Tawi seaweed industry has been buried to oblivion since the Covid19 pandemic showed its ugly face. Lockdowns and stricter movements of the populace due to the national policy in observing health protocols had been paralyzed and grind into halt.
What will happen now to the 30,000 families whose livelihoods have been snatched and overtaken by these turn of events? The number of 30k families who were deprived of their usual normal lives is disturbing to say the least. It is a very significant number to just let it be swept under the rugs.
This writer has not heard from the concerned government policymakers on what to do with their sad plight.
We have been emphasizing a quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism,:’Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.
The seaweed industry is most relevant to this famous quotation. The significant number of coastal dwellers were already relatively independent to fend for themselves because the industry can provide them well for their basic needs and no longer depend on ‘dole-outs’ handed out by local and national government entities as practiced in other poor provinces.
At this moment, this writer is still pondering on what could be done to resuscitate this struggling and dying industry.
Philippine Muslim Today