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Philippine Rise belongs to Ph – Fisherfolk to Malacañang
Manila, Philippines — The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday lambasted the Malacanañg Palace over its pro-China statement stating that the Philippines can’t claim the Philippine Rise.
Philippine Rise is a 13-million-hectare resource rich underwater plateau located opposite to the disputed South China Sea, it has been declared by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in April 2012 as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Through the Executive Order No. 25 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May last year, the undersea feature has been renamed from Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.
A joint research between the Philippines and China has been approved by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which was opposed by the fishers group, saying the joint research blanketed with the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) is a pretext of China for another occupation activity in our marine territory.
“It appears that renaming the resource-rich feature to Philippine Rise is futile; what’s in the name when you will not exercise your sovereign rights and even allow other countries to claim and exploit our abundant marine resources under the guise of “joint research”. The renaming of Benham Rise was supposed to strengthen our claim on it, not to surrender,”
“Instead of crafting a comprehensive plan on how we can utilize and exploit its marine resources and gas reserves for the benefit of the country, the government has almost abandoned our legal claim,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
31 years of no justice and continuing Mendiola Massacre-like killings under Duterte
Manila, Philippines – 31 years after the bloody “Mendiola Massacre” that killed 13 protesting farmers clamoring for right to land, justice remains elusive and the killings against the peasant sector are still prevalent. Together with the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) will march from Morayta to Mendiola Manila tomorrow to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the infamous “Mendiola Massacre”.
“Our 31 years of call to give justice for the victims of the bloody massacre seem to fall to deaf ears. 31 years after the massacre, justice remains elusive and the land that the farmers had died for has yet to be attained. Farmers remain landless while few landlord oligarchs continue to control vast-tracts of productive lands,”
“Both farmers and fishers who provide food on everyone’s table are the ones suffering from hunger, and are being displaced from their community in exchange for projects of development aggression,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group lambasted the current regime’s continuous neglect on the clamor of the peasant sector for right to land. Worse is that the Duterte regime is continuing the bloody legacy of its predecessors against the Filipino peasantry. Citing the data of KARAPATAN, out of the 126 victims of political-related extra-judicial killings (EJK), 109 are farmers who were active in local struggles for land.
Charter Change to further ocean grabbing, foreign intrusion in seas – PAMALAKAYA
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) expresses its strong opposition on the proposed Charter Change through the House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 which is to convene congress as constituent assembly to amend the constitution.
The salient feature of the proposed Charter Change will remove the economic provisions that favor Filipino nationals in the 1987 Constitution. These provisions prohibit 100% foreign-owned corporations from engaging in vital industries in the country and from owning public lands and utilities. PAMALAKAYA said this will further the ocean grabbing of Philippine waters by foreign fishing monopolies.
The fisherfolk group raised the specter of more sophisticated and destructive foreign fishing vessels approaching the Philippine waters and China’s escalating reclamation activities in the country’s exclusive economic zones.
“Our entire fishing territories and exclusive economic zones will be opened to more foreign commercial fishing fleets that will exploit our marine resources courtesy of President Rodrigo Duterte’s sell-out of our resources through the Charter Change. This will affect almost 2 million subsistence fisherfolk who will be deprived of their right to fishing waters, as well as more than 100 million fish consuming Filipinos”
“The Charter Change would be the basis of China to justify its continuous occupation and control of our natural resources in the West Philippine Sea, now including the Philippine Rise which Beijing has just shown interest in,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Fisherfolk rejects “joint research” in Ph Rise
Manila, Philippines – “This seemingly “joint research” between our country and China in Philippine Rise is a pretext to Beijing’s another occupation activity in our marine territory. Just like what it did in the West Philippine Sea, we will soon be surprised that our resource-rich waters have been already reclaimed by China with its established defense facilities,”
This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) assailing the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for allowing China, in partner with the Philippines to conduct an unspecified research activities in Philippine Rise (formerly known as Benham Rise).
Philippine Rise is a 13-million hectare resource rich underwater plateau located opposite to the disputed waters of South China Sea; it is endowed with abundant marine species like first-class tuna, and untapped mineral and gas deposits. It was confirmed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in April 2012.
The fisherfolk group likened the “joint research” to the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) in 2005 that led to the complete takeover of China to the large portion of Spratly Islands including the Reed Bank near Palawan and other parts of the West Philippine Sea that are now occupied by Beijing.
In a joint protest, farmers and fishers declared war vs. TRAIN
Manila, Philippines – Fishers and farmers under the groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Monday trooped the House of Representatives (HOR) to protest and call for the scrapping of the newly-implemented Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) which according to the groups, poses a heavy burden to the agriculture sector, especially with the sudden increase of oil and petroleum products.
PAMALAKAYA mentioned in earlier statements how the TRAIN’s oil-price hike is detrimental to the fisherfolk who consume regular gasoline or diesel for their daily fishing operations.
Reiterating their earlier statement, the group said price of gasoline has increased to P49.20 per liter, from P43 per liter before the new tax reform has been implemented. This means a small fisherfolk who regularly consumes 12 liters of gasoline per fishing trip have to prepare at least P600, from P516 for the gasoline alone. PAMALAKAYA said the cost of petroleum products eats up almost 80% of their production trip.
PAMALAKAYA slams Roque’s puppetry to China
Manila, Philippines – “What happened to Harry Roque who used to denounce China’s illegal occupation in our territorial waters? It seems that the once staunch critic has now pledged allegiance to the imperial China,”
This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday assailing Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s softening stance toward China’s continuous assertion of their irrational claim over the entire South China Sea, including the country’s 220-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and 150-nautical mile extended continental shelf (ECS).
The group accused Roque of being subservient to China after the Spokesperson’s statement that Beijing’s recent construction of military facility in the Kagitingan Reef (international known as Fiery Cross Reef) “has not breached its good faith obligation for as long as China has not embarked on new reclamation.”
TRAIN’s oil-price increase detriments small-fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines –The fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) decries the evident impact of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) on the fishing sector, particularly the abrupt oil price hike that affects small-scale fisherfolk who regularly consume gasoline or diesel for their fishing operations.
Based on the group’s initial investigation on the fishing capital Navotas City, price of gasoline as of January 04, 2018 has surged up to P49.20 per liter from P43 per liter before the new tax reform has been implemented. This means a small fisherfolk who regularly consumes 12 liters of gasoline per fishing trip have to prepare at least P600 from P516 for the gasoline alone. PAMALAKAYA said the cost of petroleum products eats up almost 80% of their production trip.
Other production costs include food needs of the boat owner and its companion which costs P150, and the tricycle fare to buy gasoline in the market that costs P40. Now a total of P790 from P706 is needed to cover the production cost per fishing trip of 6-8 hours.
The group noted that the output of every fishing trip does not usually guarantee that it can recover the amount spent during the production due to prevalent decrease of the municipal fish catch, which now ranges from 2-5 kilos per fishing trip. Because they can’t even earn the cost of production, fisherfolk have to borrow money with excessive interest rates to cover the production costs of their next fishing operation, making them buried in debt.