Fisherfolk launched its first-ever Electoral Candidates’ Forum

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Fisherfolk launched its first-ever Electoral Candidates’ Forum

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Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France discussed the national fisherfolk situation during the forum. | Photo courtesy of Philippine Collegian

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) together with Reeling the Line Alliance, an alliance of fisherfolk  and fish operators against Fisheries Code launch its first ever Fisherfolk Electoral Candidates’ Forum at College of Education, U.P. Diliman, on Friday.

The forum aims to present the fisherfolks’ just demands to the local up to the national candidates. Present on the forum was fisherfolk leaders and fish operators from Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Muntinlupa and Navotas.

As the national election circus is about begin, local and national candidates bombard the people with side by side advertisements that are full of sugarcoated platforms and promises. But until now, we haven’t seen any national candidates who have a concrete program to the most impoverished sector in the country, which is the fisherfolk.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.

Pamalakaya said that despite the fisherfolks’ significance contribution to the country’s economy, they remain the poorest among the poor, with a 39.2% poverty rate (according to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)).

One of the demands of the fisherfolk that was presented to the candidates is to repeal the Fisheries Code of 1998 and all its amendments for this law, which according to the fishers are the main culprit behind their decade-pauperism. The fisherfolk rather demands for a new and genuine fisheries law that is based on pro-people modernization that will truly serve for their welfare and interests.

The electoral candidates should provide the fisherfolk sector the urgency and utmost focus for this sector has a significant vote in the elections.” France ended.

Also on the forum were representatives from peasant organizations, youth, church people, women representatives from Anakpawis Partylist and representative of senatorial aspirant Congressman Win Gatchalian. ###

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