Fishers asked 10,000 Martial Law victims to oppose Lacson’s new role as rehab czar
By Franklin Roosevelt Dimaguiba and Gerry Albert Corpuz
MANILA, Philippines — The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) today asked the 10,000 victims of Martial Law to support their objection to the appointment of former Senator Panfilo Lacson as head of the P 41-B rehabilitation plan in areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda last month.
“We humbly submit our appeal to the 10,000 victims of Martial Law to support us in opposing the designation of former Senator Lacson as chief of the rehabilitation task force of the Aquino government. Remember, remember the 21st of September four decades ago,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France, citing the key role played by Lacson in implementing Martial Law declared by the late strongman former President Ferdinand Marcos.
The Pamalakaya leader added: ” We raised this specter of the 20 years of the US backed Marcos dictatorship in rallying the people to oppose the appointment of Senator Panfilo Lacson as head of the government rehabilitation program in typhoon ravaged communities in Eastern Visayas.
“Let the dark and gory years of Martial Law remind all of us that the appointment of Lacson to the post is tantamount to placing Yolanda devastated areas to police state,” France asserted.
The former senator yesterday accepted his appointment as rehab czar of Malacanang. “The support of the 10,000 victims of Martial Law and the human rights community to the political opposition on Lacson’s appointment is politically necessary and morally upright to defeat the purpose of Malacanang to place Eastern Visayas and 34 more provinces under the state of de facto Martial La,” said Pamalakaya.
The militant group argued that victims of the devastating typhoon were not asking for “police state” but complete and genuine rehabilitation program to bring back their lives to normal following the human disaster the hit the region and 34 more provinces last month.
“Aquino and his men are really obsessed in dealing the humanitarian crisis in Eastern Visayas with police brutality and authoritarian rule. The designation of Lacson, a well known implementor of Martial Law is a direct affront to the people of Eastern Visayas and to the collective interest of the people,” said Pamalakaya.
The appointment of Lacson will make him the officer-in-charge of the P 41 billion rehabilitation and construction of Yolanda stricken communities in Eastern Visayas. If appointed, Lacson, a known ally of President Benigno Aquino III, will be effectively in charge of the P41 billion the Cabinet estimates will be needed for the rehabilitation and construction of Yolanda-stricken areas.
“The news about Lacson’s future role as rehabilitation chief of the Aquino administration appears like the revival of full-blown Martial Law in areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda. It is like Aquino paying homage to martial rule and to the very system that sent his father to grave. What an idiotic move from the Office of the President,” said Pamalakaya.
Meanwhile, local chapters of Pamalakaya are contemplating to challenge the constitutionality of soon to be released executive order of Malacanang declaring the country’s coastlines as off limit zones even to small fisherfolk and coastal residents, which they said will be used by Lacson as a legal instrument to demolish coastal communities.
“Definitely the fight against the President’s proposal to rid fishing villages of small fishermen and coastal folks and contain them to small area known as fishing resettlement area is tantamount to a crime against humanity. We will question this bizarre idea and hair-splitting agenda before the Supreme Court or any in other venue,” the group said.
Pamalakaya argued the immediate victims of the proposal to remove fisherfolk from their main source of livelihood and communities are the victims of typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Negros, Northern Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Guimaras, Northern Cebu, Palawan and Mindoro provinces.
The group said the draft Palace EO currently being worked out is billed as ADOPTING FISHERFOLK SHELTER FOR STEWARDS (FiSH) AS A NATIONAL STRATEGY TO ENSURE SAFE AND DECENT SETTLEMENT IN COASTAL COMMUNITIES AND ESTABLISHING SUPPORTING MECHANISMS FOR ITS IMPLEMENTATION.
Pamalakaya added the EO has a potential to remove over 9 million fishermen and coastal people or about 10 percent of the country’s population. “Once signed by the President, it will legalize the removal and demolition of fishing villages. “The EO on fish settlement is an open declaration of war against the Filipino fishing community,” the group said.
In justifying his EO, the President said Filipinos should learn from painful lessons of Yolanda, as well as tropical storms “Sendong” and typhoon “Pablo”. President Aquino said the DENR many areas in the country had been marked “danger zones” based on the geo-hazard mapping of DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau which should be kept cleared. ###
Source: All Voices