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Proposed 2018 GAA loaded with demolition budget – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday decried the P3.8 trillion proposed national budget for 2018, a 12.4% higher than this year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA) where bulk of the budget or a whopping P1.097 trillion is meant for big-ticket infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program of the Dutertenomics.
The group fears massive displacement and demolition of urban poor and fishing communities in pursuant to these infrastructure projects.
“The 2018 proposed national budget is prone to corruption and loaded with displacement of urban poor and fisherfolk from communities and livelihood. President Duterte’s addiction to infrastructure projects prevent him to realize that the economic plan he’s focusing on is actually detrimental to the Filipino people and would less likely to contribute to economic growth. He even fails to include budget for resettlement areas for the poor families who will be affected by the projects,”
“With President Duterte’s line up of infrastructures, we will not be surprised if hundreds of reclamation projects pending throughout the Philippine waters would push through,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said more than 100 coastal reclamation projects under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) are awaiting for the palace’s approval. This covers almost 40,000 hectares of fishing waters and coastal areas, and if completed would effectively wipe out fishing and coastal communities from the Philippine map. NRP mainly includes construction of commercial establishments, eco-tourism, industrial and business hubs.
The 29% increase of budget for infrastructure is to expedite the construction of railways, airport, seaports, and bridges, where huge part of it will be sourced from local and foreign debt.
“The budget increase would gratify the pet projects of both local and foreign developers and even local government. Build, Build, Build is privatization of public lands and facilities and debt-driven program that will benefit no one but the giant local and foreign oligarchs. In the end, hardworking Filipinos will shoulder the burden of this Dutertenomics’ mess through unwarranted tax increase,” added Hicap.
Manila Mayor Estrada hit for its public stunt Manila Bay clean-up
Manila, Philippines – Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Thursday earned the ire of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) for its apparent publicity stunt clean-up drive in Manila Bay, saying the Mayor showed gross stupidity and negligence in rehabilitation of the dying bay.
The clean-up drive last week was claimed to be initiated by the Manila local government where it was shown in reports that trashes were first scattered in Manila Bay before proceeding with the clean-up.
The fisherfolk group ridiculed Manila Mayor Estrada for assuming that he could fool the people over his stupid publicity overdrive. The group said that it was Estrada who actually approved four destructive reclamation projects in Manila Bay over the last 6 months. Reclamation and conversion projects, according to PAMALAKAYA are the leading reason why Manila Bay is already now on its severe condition while thousands of fisherfolk and coastal settlers were already ejected from their fishing community due to past reclamation projects.
Mayor Estrada has recently approved the Horizon Manila project that covers 417 hectares of the bay. It is dubbed to be Manila’s biggest reclamation projects under Mayor Estrada. The other three that were given blessing by the Manila Mayor were the 407.42-hectare New Manila Bay International Community, the 148-hectare Manila Solar City project, and the 50-hectare expansion of Manila Harbour Centre in Tondo.
Joint exploration in West Philippine Sea immoral and unconstitutional – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The national alliance of fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday opposed the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to engage in a joint gas and oil exploration with China in the contested West Philippine Sea, saying this means total surrender of our territory and patrimony to Beijing.
West Philippine Sea is part of the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS), therefore, only the Philippines has the right to explore, develop, and utilize its natural resources as stated in the National Economy and Patrimony provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
The fisherfolk group claims we have the entire historical, legal, and political basis to exercise our right over the disputed West Philippine Sea and they are dismayed by how President Duterte abandons these bases.
“After all the hard work and tireless efforts we’ve made to make the world recognize our right in West Philippine Sea, the President seems to waste it all by approving joint oil and gas exploration in our water. President Duterte has gone overboard to compromise our territory; he does nothing to stop Chinese reclamation activities in West Philippine Sea that threaten its marine biodiversity, he lets giant Chinese fishing vessels to exploit our marine resources leaving less for Filipino fishermen, and now he wants to open the area for unequal joint exploration. With China’s more sophisticated exploration technology, there would be nothing left to us,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA condemns killing of fisherfolk leader in Negros Oriental
Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk leader Roberto Tecson was shot dead yesterday in their house in Brgy. Bulado, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental in front of his children. Tecson was the Chairperson of the municipal chapter of fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Guihulngan City.
According from the report of human rights group KARAPATAN Negros Island, past 10:00 in the evening yesterday, Tecson was gunned down by 6 riding in tandem wearing bonnets. Also according to his wife Lorna, on July 23, day before the incident happened, members of the Philippine Army under the 79th Infantry Battalion were hunting Roberto, accusing him of transporting armed groups using his pump boat. On July 24, hours before the incident, the military returned to the community and looked for him while his wife the protest rally for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA).
PAMALAKAYA in a statement claimed that Tecson was a legitimate and active member of PAMALAKAYA who led his fellow fisherfolk in the community in the campaign against repressive provisions of the amended Fisheries Code or Republic Act 10654. This includes exorbitant fines and fees, and strict fishing rules imposed among small fisherfolk.
“While President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his state of the nation address, his trigger-happy military forces were following the call of duty to silence and kill the dissents. We strongly condemn this state-perpetrated killing of our fisherfolk leader,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The group slams President Duterte’s total war declaration against the revolutionary movement which actually targets unarmed and ordinary mass movements and activist leaders.
“This culture of impunity and climate of injustice are prevalent under the Duterte administration who just declared a total war against the Filipino people especially among the ranks of farmers and fishers who resist oppressive government laws and programs and assert their civil rights,”
“The declaration of total war is embedded with heavy deployment of military in the rural communities that always results to grave human rights abuses against ordinary civilians,” Hicap said.
The fisherfolk group said this recent incident strengthens their call for the resumption of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Duterte government to attain lasting peace that is based on justice.
“We demand justice for our slain fisherfolk leader. We want justice for all the victims of political related killings and persecution under this administration,” ended Hicap. ###
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,”
Fisherfolk group demands probe on the beating of Batangas fishers
Manila, Philippines – The nationwide alliance of fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Sunday urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Central Office to investigate the beating and harassment of Bantay Dagat (sea patrols) against six fishermen in Brgy. Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas on July 17.
5 fisherfolk were badly hurt while one fisherman is still missing after they were harassed by a group of armed men identified as members of BFAR’s Bantay Dagat led by its Chief and also a Brgy. Chairman Marlon Limboc.
According to the report, while the 6 fishermen were on a fishing expedition, a group of armed men fired shots against their boats, held them and forced them to jump off the sea after being beaten by their captors.
According to PAMALAKAYA, this blatant abuse against the small fisherfolk who were only doing their livelihood is highly unacceptable and someone must be held accountable. The fisherfolk group believes that the recent maltreatment against the fishermen has something to do with the baseless strict fishing rule under the amended Fisheries Code that gives authority to Bantay Dagat to catch after their so-called “illegal fishers”.
Fisherfolk staged State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) to assess President Duterte
Manila, Philippines – In the form of street press conference, fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday staged its first State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deliver their one-year assessment on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, as well as to air their concerns regarding the fishing sector that the administration still needs to adhere.
Fisherfolk from Laguna de Bay, Manila Bay and Southern Tagalog region gathered to bring their respective yet common issues besetting their fishing communities. Some of the key points of the assessment were the issue of sovereignty, Laguna Lake rehabilitation, and reclamation of fishing waters.
The fisherfolk group gave a satisfactory rating on President Duterte regarding the Laguna Lake rehabilitation due to his unprecedented order to demolish vast tracts of fish pens in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake. But the group also criticized the government’s “ningas kugon” approach on the order especially after the Secretary of DENR has been replaced by former military Chief Roy Cimatu where demolition of fish pens has been set aside.
The group urged the present administration of DENR to still pursue the clearing out of fish pens in Laguna de Bay to give time for its ecological system to restore and let the small fisherfolk savor its aquatic resources.