Fisherfolk unperturbed with President Duterte’s SONA, slams planned joint
exploration with China
Manila, Philippines — “President Rodrigo Duterte’s state of the nation was filled with hollow and expletive rhetoric, failed to address the plight of the Filipino people,” This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte yesterday.
The fisherfolk group who mobilized hundreds of its fisherfolk members mainly from Southern Tagalog region assailed President Duterte for not making good on his progressive promises before on the fishing sector, particularly the active assertion of our territorial and sovereign rights in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
PAMALAKAYA rejects the joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea that President Duterte announced during the press conference conducted at the House of Representatives after his SONA.
“We are dismayed by the softening of President Duterte towards China. We do not want him to exactly do what he promised before on riding a jet ski and stick a Philippine flag in Scarborough Shoal. But everything he promised except making Filipino fisherfolk return to Scarborough Shoal turned into lies,”
“With the proposed joint exploration with China, President Duterte is opening our rich oil-rich territory and fishing ground to Chinese firms at the expense of the livelihood of the Filipino fisherfolk, local food security, and our marine resource in the West Philippine Sea,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Although welcoming progressive and positive reforms, the fisherfolk group marks the administration with a failing grade due to lack of comprehensive plan that will lead to meaningful reforms in the fishing sector.
“We remain one of the poorest sectors in the country despite our hard work and immense contribution to our economy. But because of existing laws and programs like the amended Fisheries Code which President Duterte has been keeping mum, we are being refused of our right to our fishing waters because the law legalizes the illegal entry of commercial fishing fleets to designated municipal fishing zones,”
“We challenge President Duterte to fulfill his promises and heed our demands for meaningful and progressive political and economic reforms,” ended Hicap. ###