Fisherfolk organizers harassed, chased down by elements of PNP in Sariaya, Quezon
Sariaya, Quezon – The provincial organizers of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Sariaya, Quezon reported harassment from the elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the 415th Provincial Police Mobile Group.
Ara Marcellana, PAMALAKAYA-Southern Tagalog Coordinator and organizer reported that on the morning of February 18, at least 10 elements of the PNP have searched and rummaged Barangay Guisguis Talon where she and her co-organizers had last went into. The elements of the PNP that were in a full battle gear have threatened and interrogated fisherfolk leaders in the community and told them not to entertain the organizers or else they will get involved in the arrest.
“This is the sum of all our fears, the government-declared all-out-war is actually a total war versus unarmed and legal activists fighting for the welfare of the marginalized sectors in the countryside. We vehemently condemn the PNP and its elements in the strongest terms possible for the harassment and fear they brought to the fisherfolk of Quezon. Our members and organizers in Quezon are active members of PAMALAKAYA that legitimately waging their local struggle which is the planned conversion of their fishing community into private venture,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The disputed coastal area is being claimed by the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Global Power Holdings Inc. and is a target for coal-fired power plant. The proposed 600-Watt coal-fired power plant covers 4 coastal barangays in Sariaya, namely, Brgy. Guisguis Talon, Guisguis San Roque, Castanas and Talaan Aplaya. This would effectively displace fifteen thousand fisherfolk and residents in the said coastal barangays.
The fisherfolk in Sariaya are at the height of its local campaign opposing the project to protect their community and fishing rights.
PAMALAKAYA said that that the termination of President Rodrigo Duterte to the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will intensify state-perpetrated attacks against ordinary civilians and legal activists in accordance with their target to destroy both the armed revolution and legal struggle of the people.
“The total war only sows more human rights abuses because they are targeting members and leaders of legal progressive organizations in order to discredit our parliamentary struggle. This is a desperate and coward act because instead of chasing their real enemies in the mountains, the state forces chase after innocent and unarmed ones.”
“This has strengthened our call to President Rodrigo Duterte to return to the peace negotiating table instead of resorting to fascist and militarist approach in rooting out the just demands of the people,” Hicap said.
Marcellana said they are currently preparing for the PAMALAKAYA Southern Tagalog Regional Assembly to be held on February 22-23, the eve of the 19th year of enactment of the Fisheries Code of 1998. Fisherfolk all over the country will hold a nationally-coordinated protest on the said date to call for the abrogation of the amended Fisheries Code and enact a new fisheries reform law that will genuinely uplift the lives of the fisherfolk. ###