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Translate words into deeds; rescind VFA
& EDCA – Fisherfolk to President Duterte
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Monday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to transform his anti-United States (U.S.) pronouncements into a formal and written policies and programs; a concrete action is through the abrogation of the existing unequal military treaties like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
The fisherfolk group lauds President Duterte’s consistencies on lambasting the U.S. intervention in the country’s political and economic aspects. During his state visit to China last October 18-21, President Duterte announced split with the U.S. and will further the country’s ties with China and Russia.
“We welcome President Duterte’s coherent pronouncements against the U.S. This will be a road towards pursuing a patriotic foreign policy that will develop for domestic industries. If we really want to pursue independent foreign policy, we should disentangle from all unequal military and economic treaties with the United States like the VFA, EDCA and other economic policies that stunt our economy,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Develop a West Philippine Sea utilization plan, President Duterte urged
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Sunday urged President Rodrigo Rodrigo Duterte to develop a utilization plan consists of detailed measures on how we should maximize our resources in the West Philippine Sea.
During President Duterte’s state visit in China last October 18-21, he didn’t raise the sea row formally but rather, scheduled a separate meeting that will discuss the issue of the territorial dispute.
90% of the South China Sea is being claimed by China through its 9-dash line theory, including the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and 150-nautical mile extended continental shelf (ECS). The long dispute poses threat among the Filipino fishermen as they are consecutively barred from entering in the Scarborough Shoal where China is building its military outposts through artificial islands.
“We are saddened for the President just let this important issue swift away without coming up with a formal agreement. He missed the boat when he had already come face to face with the Chinese President Xi Jinping yet he didn’t raise the issue of the sea row that for years now, has been affecting the livelihood of the Filipino fishermen,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
On UN’s World Food Day, fishers cry over empty nets and perpetual hunger
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) together with the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) staged a protest in front of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on the occasion of the United Nation’s (U.N.) World Fisheries Day.
The World Food Day is celebrated every October 16 after the UN established the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) on the same day in 1981.
The farmers and fishers dubbed the occasion as a World Hunger Day to refute the UN’s declaration. The protesters said this is the irony of the century for the food producers; the fishers and farmers are the ones who suffer from chronic hunger and poverty. Two of the country’s food producers are on the top list of the country’s poorest sector; with the fisherfolk as the poorest with 39.2% poverty rate while farmers with 34%, according to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The fisherfolk group pinned the foreign-dictated neo-liberal policies that further the backwardness and exacerbated the export-oriented and import-dependent character of our fishing industry to the detriment of small fishers and other local food producers. Since we are introduced to neo-liberal schemes like World Trade Organization (WTO) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), our marine export has dramatically risen to 120% since 1994 up to present. This is despite the country’s 15% local fish stock loss yearly, according to UNFAO.
The era of neo-liberalization has triggered the exploitation and depletion of global fish stocks. Since the formalization of WTO, the FAO reported that 52 percent of the global fish stocks were fully exploited or depleted, 20 percent were moderately exploited and only 1 percent showed signs of recovery.
Veep Robredo detached from the ‘laylayan’ – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – Vice President (VP) Leni Robredo earned the ire of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday after opposing the two-year moratorium on land-use conversion (LUC) issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through its Secretary Rafael Mariano.
Vice President Robredo joins economic team led by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia in signing the position paper considering the moratorium on all land-use conversions.
“VP Robredo’s 180-degree turn from Liberal Party seems to exfoliate while her true color emerges. Despite her depressed-community visits, she still lacks analysis that land grabbing perpetrated by private firms with legal guarantees from the government is one of the main reasons why poverty prevails and informal settlers proliferate especially in the urban; they were mostly farmers and fishers displaced from their land in the countryside and coastal areas to pave way for conversion projects,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
Uncle Sam is no ‘Knight in sparkling armor’ – Fisherfolk to Justice Carpio
Manila, Philippines – “Mr. Carpio’s statement was very far from reality. The United States (U.S.) has repeatedly said that it won’t engage in any military activity against China over the parcels of islands in the West Philippine Sea. If the U.S. is really into defending our sovereignty, how come it didn’t prevent China from constructing artificial islands in our waters even protect the Filipino fishers in Scarborough Shoal?” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said.
This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s statement during the closing ceremony of the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex 33) at Philippine Marine Corps headquarters in Taguig City on Tuesday saying ‘only the United States can stop China from its saber-rattling in the South China Sea’.
“We’re afraid to say that Mr. Carpio was wrong on so many levels. For one, the U.S. won’t defend us from any external conflicts; much more to China which the former is a huge debtor and has more geopolitical and economic interests than in our country. It’s difficult to think that U.S. would waste a single round against China given its long economic ties with the latter,” Hicap said.
“We can smell peace” – fisherfolk lauds recent peace dev’t
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday lauded the recent development of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the revolutionary-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
During the second round of 3-day peace talks which began on October 6 in Oslo, Norway, the two parties agreed on the common frameworks and outlines of the last three substantive agendas, namely, the Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms (CASER), political and constitutional reforms, and the cessation of hostilities/disposition of forces.
For its part, the fisherfolk group expressed its full support on the ongoing peace talks for this will not only end the prolonged civil war in the country but on top of it, will address its roots, which are poverty and injustice. Socio-economic reforms proposed by the NDFP will detach our stunted economy from all foreign dictates that fuels industrial and agrarian backwardness resulting to widespread poverty among our working and rural people.
Meanwhile, the fisherfolk warned President Duterte’s administration to be cautious on the possible sabotage from the United States and its local doormats appointed in the government.
“President Duterte should be vigilant on the possible peace derangement from Uncle Sam’s apologists who want to retain the status quo of the neo-colonial rul. There are also these hard line militarists who want to address the root causes of armed conflict in a fascist way,”
“For our part, we are in full support on the administration’s initiatives towards a genuine development to attain the lasting peace that is based on the democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement. ###