Is seafood from Manila Bay safe to eat?

Posted at 07/27/13 4:02 PM

MANILA -- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis Perez on Saturday said there is no sufficient basis to say that eating seafood caught in Manila Bay could cause cancer and brain damage.

This is contrary to the statements made by the environmental group Greenpeace and University of the Philippines toxicologist Dr. Romeo Quijano, who said their studies showed that seafood from Manila Bay could cause cancer due to the toxic chemicals present in the area.

In an interview with radio dzMM Saturday morning, Perez said experts should take extra caution when issuing warnings such as that to prevent causing "unnecessary alarm and panic" among Filipinos.

"We don't want to cause unnecessary alarm. Kasi po kung halimbawa po magbibigay ng statement na magcacause daw ng cancer, sa ngayon po kasi wala pa pong ganung basis...at wala pa pong sapat na impormasiyon na would lead us to that belief," Perez explained.

But he clarified that he has nothing against both Quijano and the Greenpeace.

"While we are not totally agreeing with that, hindi naman din po natin minasama yung statement nila."

"Hindi naman sinasabing magcacause eh, ang sinasabi posibleng magcause," he said.

Perez said further studies would still have to be conducted to prove their claims while noting that "not the entire Manila Bay is polluted."

"Dapat malaman natin kung ito bang polusyon sa Manila Bay meron ba itong corresponding effect dun sa fish. Hindi naman kasi lahat ng isda sa Manila Bay lang nakatigil, paikot-ikot po yan," he added.

UP Marine Science Institure (MSI) director Gil Jacinto, meanwhile, said they have also yet to conduct studies that could prove that toxic chemicals present in Manila Bay could indeed cause cancer.

"Wala pa kaming studies to show na the organisms in Manila Bay contain chemicals that can at this stage, at this level cause cancer," Jacinto told radio dzMM.