Fisherfolk group not impressed with Senator Marcos’ lip service against Fisheries Code
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) on Friday expressed doubt on Senator Bongbong Marcos’ position to review the adverse impact of the amended Fisheries Code.
Senator Marcos on Monday backed the fisherfolk who calls to repeal the amended Fisheries Code or the Republic Act 10654.
In a statement, Pamalakaya expressed its skepticism on the Senator’s statement because according to them, his Father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos decreed into law the predecessor of the Fisheries Code on May 16, 1975 – the Presidential Decree No. 704.
The P.D. 704 enunciates the prevalent fish deficit at the time but in the same breath promulgated large exports of marine products. Also, the section 25 of the Presidential Decree also states that individuals can lease up to fifty hectares of fishpond while associations and corporations can lease up to five hundred hectares.
According to Pamalakaya, the fish production based on export is killing the livelihoods of the fishers and the country’s food security.
“The Fisheries Code is worse, don’t get us wrong. But Marcos’ PD 704 started it all. It provided structural basis for the subsequent fisheries law; droves of large companies were permitted to squander our waters, some of which are still here, like Century Pacific and Ligo of US. From then on, it’s a path to destitution for us small fisherfolk.” Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France said in a statement.
UN FAO says that fish catch of municipal fishers have declined dramatically from the end of the 80’s, catching 39 kilos of fish, to an average of 2-3 kilos nowadays.
Pamalakaya said that the fisheries law that was passed by Senator Marcos’ father was no far different from the current fisheries law which is the amended Fisheries Code, both promoting the liberalization of the fisheries industry and allowing local and foreign fishing corporations to plunder our seas. In fact, some of the provisions and content of the amended Fisheries Code are acquired and influenced by then President Marcos’ P.D. 704.
“We dare Senator Marcos. If he is really sincere against the Fisheries Code and is concerned for the welfare of the fisherfolk, he should first denounce the Presidential Decree his father has passed, call for the dismantling of all the hacienda-like-aquaculture farms owned by private individuals and corporations, and detach to all the unequal international trade agreements that promote import and export oriented production like the World Trade Organization (WTO).” France ended. ###