Fisherfolk challenge presidentiables to counter EDCA
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) challenged the Presidential aspirants, especially Senator Grace Poe, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and Senator Miriam Santiago to stand against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
“This is the time for these Presidential aspirants to show their objection to the return of U.S. bases in the country and prove their genuine interest in upholding our national sovereignty and patrimony.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.
The constitutionality of EDCA, which will give United States (U.S.) military troops more access to our facilities, was upheld its by the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday.
The said Presidential candidates – Poe, Santiago and Duterte, are known for being vocal against the return of U.S. military bases in the country.
“We have no hope whatsoever that Mar Roxas will take on the challenge since, like Aquino, he’s rooting for the return of the dreaded US bases.” France added
Pamalakaya said that bringing back U.S. bases in the country will bring utter danger and terror to the Filipino people especially to the fisherfolk. The fisherfolk group said that the livelihood of the fisherfolk have been adversely affected by the U.S. military presence — particularly on our seas.
The group cited that way back in 2009 where the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) imposed a 6-month fishing ban in Bicol Region to give way to the US-RP balikatan exercises.
Several local fishing bans has been imposed before due to the RP-US Balikatan exercises which was usually held on shores, and Filipino fishers are restricted to fish near the said war-game zones as a security blanket to the American troops.
As it is in Oyster Bay, Palawan, the fisherfolk are not allowed to go within the vicinity of the waters where the US is building its naval base. Pamalakaya said that the Philippine government, through taxpayers’ money, has spent P500M for the construction of the naval base.
“It is clear that those American mercenaries are not just a threat to our national security, but also to the livelihoods of our fishers!
“Of course we didn’t expect Mar Roxas to oppose this EDCA because aside from he is ‘the inheritor of President Aquino’s daang matuwid, he is also a total boot licker, desperately begging United States’ support to win the election.” France said.
Pamalakaya urged Poe, Duterte and Santiago to make a stand against EDCA, whether in their own legal way or in joining the Filipino people in the parliament of the streets and in the court of public opinion. ###