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Fisherfolk doubts Duterte’s “innocence” on the Boracay casino plan
Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) is skeptic with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he was not aware of the planned casino-resort in Boracay, which the President called a “cesspool”, thus ordered a 6-month shutdown starting on April 26.
In a statement, the fisherfolk group recalled that in December 2017, the team from Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (GEG) headed by its Chairman Lui Che-Woo and Vice Chairman Francis Lui-Yiu paid a courtesy call to President Duterte where they discussed the proposal to build a $500-M integrated casino-resort in Boracay.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has already provided a provisional permit to the Macau-based casino giant together with its local partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) owned by incumbent Negros Occidental Representative and Duterte-ally Alfredo Benitez, to build the 23-hectare casino-resort that will start on 2019.
Mocking Duterte, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list solon Fernando Hicap said: “President Duterte is making a fool out of the Filipino people by denying his knowledge on the planned Chinese casino in Boracay. It is already clear to the public that Duterte’s directive to rehabilitate the island is only a “lutong macau” because there are already giant conglomerates that will replace local infrastructures and businesses in the island,”
Fisherfolk says no to Bulacan international airport
Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) opposes the international airport project in Bulacan that has been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
With NEDA’s approval, Ramong Ang’s San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is set to build, operate, and maintain the P700-billion international “aerotropolis” which involves an airport covering 1,168 hectares and a city complex to be built at a 2,500-hectare area along Manila Bay in Bulacan, Bulacan.
For its part, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson and former Anakpawis Partylist solon Fernando Hicap said the project will lead to environmental disaster in Manila Bay threatening the livelihood of more than 20,000 fisherfolk in the municipality of Bulacan, Bulacan and other neighboring towns.
“This project will not only destroy marine ecosystem, but also the livelihood of thousands of fisherfolk who subsist by fishing in the rich fishing hub of Manila Bay,” Hicap said, also lambasting President Rodrigo Duterte for selling out fishing waters and coastal communities to foreign investors and giant developers trough his Build, Build, Build (BBB) program.
“President Duterte is on a roll in selling our coastal waters to big-time business magnates; not less than 5 destructive reclamation projects have been approved in Manila Bay since he assumed post as chief executive, all at the expense of socio-economic rights of hundreds of thousands of fisherfolk and coastal settlers,” added Hicap.
Fisherfolk trooped DENR to protest gov’t’s “grand sellout” of Ph waters
Manila, Philippines – The progressive fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday trooped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest the national “clean-up” campaign of the country’s top tourist spots such as the Boracay Island, Panglao Island in Bohol, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, and Coron, Palawan.
The group said the clean-up drive is actually to facilitate, attract, and open doors to foreign investors, especially those coming from China who are seeking multi-billion dollar investment ventures in the country. In Boracay, a local developer Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) has already bought 23-hectare property in the island for the $300-M to $500-M integrated casino resort in partnership with the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group.
While in Coron Island, Palawan, a group of Chinese magnates is eyeing to invest aquaculture farms for high-value species of groupers (Lapu-lapu). DENR has declared that Coron’s waters are already contaminated with bacteria coming from both domestic and infrastructure wastes. They admit that the clean-up drive includes displacement of informal settlers and removal of illegal structures situated within the 3-meter easement zone of the bay.
A likewise trend, the local government of Panglao Island in Bohol which is the government’s next target for clearing up has also welcomed Chinese investments in agriculture, tourism, and technology.
DENR facilitating foreign-sellout of Ph seas – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The progressive fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is facilitating the sell-out of our fishing waters to foreign investors through the government’s nationwide “clean-up” campaign and the “no build zone” policy.
The provincial chapter of PAMALAKAYA in Palawan has reported that the municipality of Coron has already been surveyed by DENR officials in preparation to the relocation of fishing families residing within the 40-meter areas categorized as “danger zones”.
According to Elias Ruta, PAMALAKAYA-Palawan Spokesperson, around 400 families in Coron will be displaced in pursuant to the “no build zone” policy which was first implemented in the aftermath of the super-typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
“Balak palayasin ang mga mangingisda sa tabing-dagat habang mananatili ang mga pribadong istruktura at dadagdagan pa nga ng mas malalaking mga negosyo sa baybaying-dagat. Hindi rin kami naniniwala na ang pagiging “danger zone” ng aming lugar ang dahilan kung bakit kami palalayasin dahil sa dinami-dami ng mga dumaang kalamidad, nananatili pa ring nakatindig ang aming mga bahay nang wala ni anumang tulong ng gubyerno,” Ruta who is a local fisherman in Coron said in a statement.
Boracay to become China province if Macau-style casino pushes through –
Manila, Philippines – Reacting to the statement of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) that the $500-million integrated casino resort in Boracay will proceed, the activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) warned that it would be a prelude to transformation of the country into a province of China, which President Rodrigo Duterte had mentioned in earlier statement.
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and its local partner Leisure Resorts World Corp. are seeking regulatory approval for the $300-$500 million casino project in the country’s top tourist island. Boracay Island is currently subjected to closure due to sewerage and waste management issue.
“Hindi malayong magkatotoo ang ‘birong pahayag’ ni Pangulong Duterte na magiging probinsya ng China ang Pilipinas kung matutuloy ang binabalak ng dayuhang developer na ito na magtayo ng world-class casino-resort sa isla ng Boracay. Nakakabahala dahil aalisin nga ang mga maliliit at Pilipinong-pag-aari na istruktura sa isla, papalitan naman ng mas malaki at dayuhang kumpanya, na nangangahulugan ng mas malaking polusyon at dumi sa karagatan. Di hamak na mas walang pakialam ang dayuhang kumpanyang ipapalit sa pangangalaga ng ating karagatan dahil ang gusto lamang nito ay kumita,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Duterte guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – “By withdrawing to the ICC, Duterte is guilty of committing genocide-like crimes against the humanity. This is to fuel Duterte’s passion for all-out abuse of human rights and civil liberties of the Filipino people,” According to the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) condemning the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to pullout from the Rome Statute, a treaty which created the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“While the Duterte government never respected the ICC, it is still bothering to pull out from this international treaty because it will elude him from any legal sanction and accountability over his unbridled human rights violations,” said Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said even prior to the ICC withdrawal, the Duterte government was already unstoppable in committing grave crimes against the Filipinos through the brutal war on drugs dubbed as “Oplan Tokhang”, which has already claimed thousands of lives; and even bound to commit war crimes by encouraging his troops to disregard the international humanitarian law in the battle field through his marching order to shoot armed rebels right away.
“Duterte will join countries not signed to the treaty like Myanmar and Israel who never respect human rights. He is hell-bent in pursuing the political culture of state terror and brutality,”
Taal Lake a ‘slave-labor hotspot’ for fish workers – fisherfolk group
Laurel, Batangas – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) wants probe on the evident exploitation of fishworkers in the private fishpen structures in Taal Lake in the province of Batangas.
Taal Lake is the country’s 3rd largest lake at 24, 356 hectares and is surrounded by 8 towns of the province of Batangas; San Nicholas, Agoncillo, Laurel, Talisay, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Taal, and Tawilisan. It contributes 40% to the total fish production of the Southern Tagalog sub-region.
According to the fisherfolk group’s study, prominent local financiers operate more than one fishpen structures by using different dummies which also act as the workers or caretakers of the fishpens. The workers are the ones who perform the distribution of fingerlings, feeding, maintenance, and the harvesting which takes about eight months. On the other hand, the role of the financier is merely to provide production expenses like fingerlings, feeds, and structures.
On the average, a fish worker spends a total of at least 1, 230 working hours for eight months or equivalent to 6 working hours for 240 working days in the sea per day including weekends. In accordance to the regional daily minimum wage rate for agriculture sector in Region IV-A, a fish worker shall earn P350.00 per day. Basing this rate on the total average working days of a fish worker, this means that they will be paid a total of P84, 000 for 240 working days.