Trillanes in no position to speak for sovereignty – group
Manila, Philippines – “Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has no right to speak about defending our sovereignty because we believe that he himself has once compromised it that he has even yet to explain to the public,”
This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday in response to the Magdalo Senator’s riding on the issue of Benham Rise to cover-up his anomalous visits to China during then-Aquino administration that led to the complete possession of Beijing to Scarborough Shoal, a traditional fishing ground of Filipino fishers and is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone. China has been posing its irrational claim on the shoal and has even built artificial island and military outpost. The complete occupation of China over Scarborough Shoal has resulted to the harassment and deprivation of Filipino fisherfolk of their livelihood.
“Senator Trillanes has yet to answer on why his secret and numerous trips to China has led to the latter’s successful takeover of the Scarborough Shoal,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA refers to the 16-times visits of Senator Trillanes in Beijing that he deliberately hide to the public and even after it was exposed, he keeps turning a deaf ear on the questions raise towards him on his covert and anomalous negotiations.
“If we talk about compromising the sovereignty, Trillanes has a lot to answer for. Did he and the Aquino administration have made secret transactions with China at the cost of our exclusive economic territory and livelihood of our fishermen? The Filipino people deserve a valid explanation from him because it is a matter of national sovereignty and public trust,” Hicap said.
PAMALAKAYA meanwhile urged President Rodrigo Duterte to actively defend and assert our right on Benham Rise against any foreign-owned fishing vessels holding exploration activities in the area.
“We repeat that presence of foreign vessels in Benham Rise is nothing new. It has long been infested and invaded with Japanese and Taiwanese poachers irreverently exploiting our marine resources,” Hicap said.
Benham Rise is a 13-million-hectare resource-rich water which is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone as ruled by the United Nations (U.N.) on 2012. It is located at the eastern part of the country, opposite to the disputed South China Sea. ###