Various groups conducted a National Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission in Brgy.
Maragondon, Cavite – Various sectoral organizations led by the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) held a National Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission (NFFSM) in Brgy. Patungan, Maragondon, Cavite on September 03-04. The objectives of the NFFSM are to investigate the violent demolition in Brgy. Patungan that occurred on August 22-23 where more than 1,000 combined demolition crews, Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Air Force (PAF), special weapons and tactics (SWAT) and private security guards trooped the fishing community and fired bullets and tear gas while executing the demolition.
Patungan is a 602-hectare barangay situated along renowned mountain ranges including Mt. Pico de Loro and Mt. Palay-palay with a rich fishing ground that intersects from Manila Bay and Nasugbu Bay.
Fisherfolk launched its first-ever Electoral Candidates’ Forum
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) together with Reeling the Line Alliance, an alliance of fisherfolk and fish operators against Fisheries Code launch its first ever Fisherfolk Electoral Candidates’ Forum at College of Education, U.P. Diliman, on Friday.
The forum aims to present the fisherfolks’ just demands to the local up to the national candidates. Present on the forum was fisherfolk leaders and fish operators from Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Muntinlupa and Navotas.
“As the national election circus is about begin, local and national candidates bombard the people with side by side advertisements that are full of sugarcoated platforms and promises. But until now, we haven’t seen any national candidates who have a concrete program to the most impoverished sector in the country, which is the fisherfolk.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.
Pamalakaya said that despite the fisherfolks’ significance contribution to the country’s economy, they remain the poorest among the poor, with a 39.2% poverty rate (according to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)).
One of the demands of the fisherfolk that was presented to the candidates is to repeal the Fisheries Code of 1998 and all its amendments for this law, which according to the fishers are the main culprit behind their decade-pauperism. The fisherfolk rather demands for a new and genuine fisheries law that is based on pro-people modernization that will truly serve for their welfare and interests.
“The electoral candidates should provide the fisherfolk sector the urgency and utmost focus for this sector has a significant vote in the elections.” France ended.
Also on the forum were representatives from peasant organizations, youth, church people, women representatives from Anakpawis Partylist and representative of senatorial aspirant Congressman Win Gatchalian. ###
Candelaria, Zambales 09/20/2015
Executive Summary: National Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission
We, the participants from different multi-sectoral organizations, held from September
18-20, the first grassroots-initiated National Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission (NFFSM) in the province of Zambales. During this mission, we found that the fisherfolk – men and women, are facing specific problems as a result of Chinese incursions on the West Phillipine Sea particularly on Scarborough Shoal. The denial of the fisherfolk’s right to fish on the Scarborough Shoal has significantly reduced their income and has worsened their condition, putting the fisherfolk in crisis as they struggle to survive from their daily catch.
This situation of the small fisherfolk and medium fishing operators is ironic in the context of the archipelagic Philippines with its rich and abundant marine resources and a coastline which is fifth longest in the world that comprises four-fifths of the country’s marine resources and rich bio-diversity.
The NFFSSM concluded that to protect our waters for the next generation, the Philippines needs to defend their resource-rich waters against Chinese incursions and that of other foreign interests. This first grassroots fact finding mission needs to be expanded at the national level to enhance the data,
and to draw the interest and large-scale participation of the fisherfolk and the Filipino people.
The NFFSM aimed to gather data regarding the actual conditions and impacts of
Chinese incursions on the West Philippine sea and on the aspirations and calls of the fisherfolk of Zambales.
The group conducted key informant interviews and focus group discussions with fisherfolk and dialogue with Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and other local government officials down to the barangay level.
The respondents in the towns of Iba, Masinloc, Subic and San Antonio identified restrictions of fishing operations in and around Bajo de Masinloc as the main concern of fisherfolk. The fisherfolk considers Bajo de Masinloc as a traditional saf
e harbor during turbulent weather and rich source of catch as breeding ground of fish. However, starting 2012, the Chinese have become aggressive and hostile in refusing Filipino fishers to even go near the area.
In one of the discussions, one fishworker shared that before the dispute with China erupted, they used to earn Php3,500 per trip to Bajo de Masinloc which usually lasts three to four days during fishing season in the months of February-May. Due to the incidents of harassment by the Chinese, the fisherfolk are fearful of going to Bajo de Masinloc and are forced to look for alternative sources of income.
In the town of Sta. Cruz the interviews reveal that the concerns of fisherfolk are the following:
- confinement of fishing operations within municipal waters;
- decrease in fish catch;
- water pollution due to sediments from mining operations, intensive use of feeds in fish cages and coal-fired power plant emissions;
- fines and penalties from violations of municipal ordinances;
- imposition of laws and policies that pertain to fishers and coastal areas by pertinent government agencies without full and thorough public consultations and social acceptability.
In all areas, though they have identified several issues, the fisherfolk have expressed frustration and disempowerment
about their current situation. Some government projects have been mentioned but the respondents admitted that these do not bring concrete and significant improvement to the lives of the fishers.
Based on the foregoing and the demands expressed by the respondents, the NFFSM recommends the following:
- To the national government, particularly the executive departmentProvide immediate relief and direct support to the most vulnerable segment of the fishing sector, such as upgrade the technology used by small fisherfolk;
- Provide basic fishing gears, motorized boats, fishing nets and other materials;
- Ensure the right of the fisherfolk to resume fishing in Bajo de Masinloc;
- Assert the rights of Filipino fisherfolk to Philippine waters and marine resources;
- Review national government policies, programs which affect fishing sector, such as the Fisheries Code, Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act, Mining Act of 1995, Philippine Energy Development Plan;
- Make decisive actions to stop all acts of violence and aggression of Chinese military forces against Filipino fisherfolk;
- Defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines and pursue an independent foreign policy;
- Forge unity with nearby states in protecting the Coral Triangle and shared marine resources and environment.
Further, the mission calls on the national government agencies to express strong positions and actions to stop China and other foreign interests from encroaching on Philippine territories, even as it notes and acknowledges the Philippine Navy statement submitted to the mission.
- To the local government:
- Repeal the zoning ordinances and other anti-fisherfolk policy and programs;
- Issue a moratorium on regressive taxation imposed on small fisherfolk.
Lastly, the NFFSM expresses its commitment to support the plight of fisherfolk and call on all
fisherfolks and all patriotic sectors to do the same because the issue of the country’s
sovereignty is the concern of all.
The NFFSM was organized by Pamalakaya Pilipinas, Bayan Central Luzon, Move Now Zambales, Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson in partnership with Anakpawis Partylist, Center for Environmental Concerns Phils., Pilipinong Nagkakaisa para sa Soberanya (P1NAS) and Alay Bayan Luzon. The participating organizations are Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra), Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Piglas Navotas, Migrante International, Karapatan CL, Anakbayan Tarlac, Katribu CL, Pinoy Weekly, Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Patria), Justice and Peace Desk of MSC, College Editors Guild of the Philippines CL, Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC), Sagipin ang Kalikasan para sa Kinabukasan (Sagip), SAMA-Sagip Zambales.
Copies of the full report will be disseminated to the government and its various agencies at the national and local levels and to non-governmental and peoples’ organizations for campaigns and people’s actions and policy advocacy.
Manila, Philippines – Militant fisherfolk under Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday staged a protest in front of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to call for the repeal of the Fisheries Code of 1998 and its amendments.
In a statement, the PAMALAKAYA Vice-Chairperson Salvador France said that the poverty incidence in the fisherfolk sector arise due to the implementation of the Fisheries Code of 1998.
“We (fisherfolk) are 17 years of slave. The fisherfolk sector has the highest poverty incidence in the country due to this anti-fisherfolk law. Only those big and foreign fishing corporations have benefited from Fisheries Code.” France said.
THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday called for a thorough investigation on the alleged violent demolition of 264 shanties in Sitio Balacbacan, Barangay Laiya, San Juan, Batangas, on July 3.
The demolition, which rendered 600 families living at the coastal area homeless, also deprived fishermen their source of income, as they are prevented from fishing in the area.
The fishermen, Pamalakaya said, continue to experience harassment and intimidation.
According to the group, the demolition was allegedly ordered by real-estate developer Federico Campos III. He is the owner of Laiya Development Corp. and Macaria Development Corp. which aims to convert the land of Barangay Laiya from productive fishing to ecotourism purpose, Pamalakaya Secretary General Romy Antazo said.
Laiya boasts of white-sand beaches and is considered a potential tourist destination in Batangas.
The fishermen said that Campos is claiming ownership of a vast tract of land in the barangay and plans to develop a resort along its coasts.
According to Antazo, contrary to Campos’s claim, the land is actually inhabited and has been developed by fishermen for
“There’s no way that this Campos has the right to own the land.” Antazo said.
Haligi ng Batangueñong Anakdagat (Habagat), Pamalakaya’s local chapter, said that after those whose houses were demolished are being denied to go back to their fishing grounds.
“First they destroyed our houses and now they deprive us from our only source of livelihood. We contribute significantly to the fishing industry on the province of Batangas but we don’t see any immediate reaction from the local government since the violent incident happened.” Habagat Laiya Vice Chairman Elsie Lucero said.
LAIYA NATIONAL FACT FINDING AND SOLIDARITY MISSION
October 11-13, 2014
San Juan, Batangas
Haligi ng Batangenyong Anakdagat (HABAGAT)
Samahan ng mga Magbubukid ng Batangas (SAMBAT)
In Partnership and Cooperation with:
Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA – Pilipinas)
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA)
Kalipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK)
Batangas Integrated Human Rights Advocates (BIHRA). HUSTISYA-Batangas.
KARAPATAN-Batangas. Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY)
with the participation of:
HON. FERNANDO HICAP
On July 3, 2014, approximately 600 fisherfolks and peasant families lost their homes and livelihood following the demolition carried out by some 2000 police and more than 20 buses of demolition crews, using as its basis the “Special Court Order for Demolition” issued by the Rosario Regional Trial Court Branch 87 under Presiding Judge Rose Marie Austria, following almost two-decades long of land dispute and court battle.
The people were displaced by Mr. Federico Campos III, owner/representative of the Laiya Development Corporation and Macaria Development Corporation; who was about to develop the place for commercial resorts.
Ejectment cases were filed against the residents, including Unlawful Detainer and Forcible Entry charges that started since 1983 up to September 2013.
Campos offered a relocation site but majority of the affected families refused to accept citing primarily its distance from the sea on they mainly rely for a living, lack of security of tenure and flooding in the area during the rainy season.
Right after the demolition, the affected families re-organized themselves and collectively decided to stay in the area by building makeshift houses along the national road as most of them have no other place to go, and also to assert their right to livelihood and dignity. Some 264 families are still in the area and are vigilantly advancing their plight.
Various people’s organization in the province led by Haligi ng Batangenyong Anakdagat (HABAGAT), Samahang Magbubukid ng Batangas (SAMBAT), Batangas Integrated Human Rights Advocates (BIHRA) and KARAPATAN-Batangas immediately came to the area hours after the demolition on July 3 in response to the victims’ call for support to express solidarity and investigate the demolition incident.
Fisheries 101, a privilege speech of Anakpawis Rep. Ka Pando Hicap on the lower House of Representatives
Fisheries 101: The poor situation of small-scale fisherfolks in the Philippines
Privilege Speech of Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap on the 16th year since legislation of Fisheries Code of 1998.
Honorable Speaker of the House and to my co-legislators in the lower House of Representatives, good afternoon to all of us.
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to share the present situation of the poor Filipino fisherfolks. The year 2014 is the 16th year since the Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 was passed by Congress and signed into to law on February 24, 1998 by former President Fidel Valdez Ramos.