amended fisheries code
Nationally-coordinated fish strike vs Fisheries Code and Duterte’s anti-people policies set
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) will spearhead a nationally-coordinated fish strike in time of the 20th anniversary of the Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic ACT 8550 on February 23.
The fisherfolk group reiterates its call to repeal the Fisheries Code which for two consecutive decades has failed to improve the miserable lives of the country’s poorest of the poor sector. The Fisheries Code was amended in 2015 under the Republic Act 10654 to deter the so-called “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing” (IUUF) which the government claimed as the cause of overfishing. But the fisherfolk group decries the amended fishing law’s repressive fishing restrictions and regulations, saying even the traditional and backward fishing methods have been categorized by the government as “illegal”, resulting to hefty fines and penalties imposed among the small fisherfolk who barely earn enough.
PAMALAKAYA will also protest President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-people policies such as the proposed Charter Change (Chacha) which will constitutionalize the sell-out of fishing waters and coastal areas to foreign businesses, and the newly-approved Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law that poses heavy burden to the municipal fisherfolk due to the skyrocketing price increase of basic commodities and oil products.
“We are two decades a slave under the Fisheries Code which only favors the greedy interest of few commercial fish firms and developers. It promulgated modernization and mechanization of the fishing industry but in reality, our fishing gears remain backward and Jurassic; only 38% of registered fishers in a municipal level possess a mechanized fishing banca, while the remaining 62% still use traditional fishing methods or worst, no fishing boat at all,”
PAMALAKAYA to spearhead anti-Fisheries Code campaign
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) is set to lead an across-the-nation campaign to junk the 19-year old Fisheries Code of 1998 which according to the group is the main reason why the fishing sector remains poorest of the poor in the country.
The group said the amended Fisheries Code under the Republic Act 10654 exacerbates the miserable condition of the already impoverished fisherfolk through the excessive fees and taxes.
The national anti-fisheries code campaign at the minimum, aims to put a moratorium on the Boat Registration (BoatR) and Fisherfolk Registration (FishR) programs, which the fisherfolk complains for its hefty fees; while the central goal is to for the total scrapping of the law.
“The Fisheries Code still allows export-based commercial fishing fleets to exploit the municipal fishing waters that are intended for small-fishers. The amendments do not actually change anything in the law, rather, repressive fishing provisions like the registration and reporting scheme have been added to curtail the fishing activities of the fisherfolk,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
With the new provisions of the Fisheries Code, small fisherfolk are obliged to register their fishing boats, gears, and even themselves. Thus the once free profession has now a price that is detrimental for the small fishers. Fishers are also mandated to report their fish catch before the designated fish landing centers.
Fisherfolk staged “fishing strike” against Navotas reclamation
Manila, Philippines – “We call on to stop the 650-hectare reclamation project in the city of Navotas that will phase-out more than 20,000 fishermen and coastal settlers in the country’s fishing capital,”
This was the call of the Navotas fishermen under the banner of the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday at their fluvial protest action in Manila Bay, dubbed as fishing strike against reclamation.
The fisherfolk rode in more than 25 fishing boats while roaming from Barangay Tangos to Navotas Centennial Park where the fences and markers are being installed in preparation to the reclamation project, known as the Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP).
The NBBP is a 650-hectare reclamation project approved by city Mayor John Rey Tianco intended for commercial and mixed use. More than 20,000 Navotas fishermen are expected to be displaced if the project pushes through.
The fisherfolk group likened their fate under the reclamation project to hundreds of thousands of Jeepney drivers if government’s Jeepney phase-out program nationwide will proceed.
“Like our Jeepney drivers who will lose livelihood due to Jeepney phase-out, the Navotas reclamation would effectively phase-out thousands of fisherfolk and urban poor from their livelihood and community in the name of government’s pseudo-development project. Ever since, reclamation projects are far from the interest of the fisherfolk but a detrimental to their livelihood and moreover to the delicate marine environment,”
“Ban licensing of fishing boats” – ex-solon to Congressman Tiangco
Manila, Philippines – Former Anakpawis Party-list solon and now national chairperson of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) Fernando Hicap urges Navotas City Representative Tobias “Toby” Tiangco to suspend the registration of fishing boats in his city, asserting that the fisherfolk doesn’t need to pay just to get their boats registered to contribute to the fish production of the country’s “fishing capital”.
Hicap, a former colleague of Rep. Tiangco in the House of Representatives echoes the sentiments of the Navotas fisherfolk about the registration scheme under the amended Fisheries Code of 1998 or the Republic Act 10654 that poses heavy burden to them who hardly earn enough money for their daily needs due to high cost of fish production and deteriorating marine catch in Manila Bay.
“Like the privilege plates that Congressman Tiangco wants to ban, we also urge him to lift the fishing ordinance in his city requiring municipal fishermen to acquire boat registration number from the local government,”
“The fisherfolk doesn’t need a boat license to go offshore and contribute to fish production. The registration fees imposed among the fishermen are actually detrimental to the country’s poorest of the poor who miserably lives below the poverty threshold,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Rep. Tiangco is the main author of House Bill No. 413 banning the use of plate number “8” to avoid privilege and abusive behavior exhibited by individuals using the protocol plates, whether government officials or private individuals.
Under the Boat Registration (BoatR) program of the amended Fisheries Code, fisherfolk are required to register their boats with registration fees depending on the local government implementing the provision. Otherwise, they will be categorized as illegal fishers and will be charged with hefty fines and stiff penalties.
The fisherfolk group instead urged Rep. Tiangco to provide livelihood assistance to more than 7,000 small fisherfolk in Navotas to uplift their lives.
Around 50 fishermen yesterday protested in front of the Navotas City Hall to demand the incumbent Mayor John Rey Tiangco, a younger brother of Rep. Tiangco, to issue a moratorium on the fishing ordinance. The protest was also a build-up activity for a fluvial protest in Manila Bay on October 17 to register the plight of the fisherfolk in the town. ###
“Go outside your palace, talk to us” – Caraga farmers & fishers to Duterte
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Sunday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to face hundreds of farmers and fishers from the Caraga Region currently encamped at Mendiola, Manila since August 23 as part of their Manila Protest Camp dubbed as “Lakbayan Laban sa Kahirapan at Karahasan”.
Farmers and fishers under Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and PAMALAKAYA, consecutively, since the first day of their protest camp staged picket actions and dialogues with various government agencies concerning their sector.
Among the issues brought by the Caraga folks are landlessness and widespread land grabbing in the region, the illegal marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte which deprive fisherfolk of their right to fishing grounds, and the repressive fishing rules and regulations under the amended Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act 10654.
“The fisherfolk and farmers are on their third week in Manila yet no concrete commitments have been made by the government agencies they confronted to address the issues they raised,”
“The Presidet is too occupied on his war against drugs that claims thousands of lives while setting aside the ails in the countryside,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Caraga fishers trooped BFAR central office to protest Fisheries Code, marine sanctuary in the region
Caraga fishers trooped BFAR central office to protest Fisheries Code, marine sanctuary in the region
Manila, Philippines – Around 60 fisherfolk from the Caraga Region XIII under the banner of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday protested the amended Fisheries Code of 1998 before the central office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as part of their month-long protest camp in Manila dubbed as “Lakbayan Laban sa Kagutuman at Karahasan”.
The fisherfolk from Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte said since the Fisheries Code has been amended last 2015 through the Republic Act 10654, various fees and heavy taxations are being charged on them by the local government unit (LGU).
Biased fishing rules and regulations are strictly enforced by the LGU only to the municipal fishermen while it pays no attention to the illegal entry of large-scale commercial fishing fleets within the 15-kilometer fishing waters designated for small-fishermen.
“The amended Fisheries Code mounts many fishing rules and policies. It includes registration and licensing of our boats and fishing gears. The boat registration itself costs us almost P2,000 which is already a burden for small-earner fishermen like us,”
“And if we fail to comply with the strict standards, we will be categorized as “illegal fishers” and will be subjected to hefty fines and harsh penalties like confiscation of fishing gears and worst, imprisonment,” Leopoldo Pelinta, PAMALAKAYA-Surigao del Norte Spokesperson said in a statement.