Fisherfolk welcomes new name of ‘Benham Rise’, calls to strengthen our claim over the plateau
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) welcomes the renaming of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise as a way to exercise our claim over the 13-million hectare resource rich underwater ridge.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed the Executive Order No. 25 renaming the undersea feature.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said a welcome development to assert our rightful claim over the rise. The group urges President Duterte to fortify the protection of our territory from any foreign fishing fleets that exploit our waters and marine resources.
“Whether it is named Benham Rise or Philippine Rise, as long as the government allows foreign commercial fishing vessels to enter our territory, we may not be able to fully utilize our water. What’s in a name when the Filipino fisherfolk are not the ones who benefit from the abundance of our marine territory,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Assert sovereign rights against China – Duterte urged
Manila, Philippines – Responding from the news that China is gearing to build its first permanent structure in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipians (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) tells President Rodrigo Duterte to exude extra vigilance because this might result to the deprivation of the Filipino fishers and complete takeover of Bejing in Scarborough Shoal.
Scarborough Shoal is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone of which China has been posing its claim through the 9-dash line assumption. China has yet to give up its unjust claim over the Philippine territory despite the international arbitration’s ruling last year favoring the Philippines’ claim on the disputed West Philippine Sea. The environmental monitoring station to be situated on features of Beijing-controlled Paracel islands, according to a Chinese official is among their government’s top priorities for 2017.
The fisherfolk group fears that this might compromise the livelihood of the Filipino fishers who were already able to return to their traditional fishing grounds last year after President Duterte’s diplomatic talk with China.
“We cherish the developments that our country and China have reached towards a diplomatic resolution of the dispute, but building permanent structure to strengthen their irrational claim and probably military presence in our territory is too much. Our cordial relation with China recently doesn’t mean that we have given up our claim on the disputed waters. We are always ready to defend our territory by all means,”
“China has no any legal, moral and political right to settle any permanent structure in the disputed waters. They must respect the international ruling and acknowledge that the West Philippine Sea rightfully belongs to the Filipino people,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA also warns China to back off from Benham Rise otherwise they will be subjected to chorus of criticisms from the international community have they plan to intrude on the 13-million hectare underwater resource-rich territory of the country. Presence of a Chinese vessel in Benham Rise has been monitored by a defense official last week.
“We urge President Duterte to actively assert our sovereign rights against China and other foreign intruders. No one but the Filipino people has the right to utilize and maximize our marine resource. The administration must lead our nation in protecting and defending our sovereignty and not create a single breach that would make our territory out of our possession,” Hicap ended. ###
Trillanes in no position to speak for sovereignty – group
Manila, Philippines – “Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has no right to speak about defending our sovereignty because we believe that he himself has once compromised it that he has even yet to explain to the public,”
This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday in response to the Magdalo Senator’s riding on the issue of Benham Rise to cover-up his anomalous visits to China during then-Aquino administration that led to the complete possession of Beijing to Scarborough Shoal, a traditional fishing ground of Filipino fishers and is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone. China has been posing its irrational claim on the shoal and has even built artificial island and military outpost. The complete occupation of China over Scarborough Shoal has resulted to the harassment and deprivation of Filipino fisherfolk of their livelihood.
“Senator Trillanes has yet to answer on why his secret and numerous trips to China has led to the latter’s successful takeover of the Scarborough Shoal,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Hands off Benham Rise! – fisherfolk to China and other foreign vessels
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday scolded China for its attempt to occupy the Benham Rise, following its assertion that the Philippines cannot own the 13-million hectare resource-rich water despite the United Nations (U.N.) ruling on 2012.
A defense official last week has reported the presence of a Chinese vessel in Benham Rise, of which Beijing has immediately reacted saying it was just an “innocent passage”.
Benham Rise is located opposite to the disputed waters of South China Sea that has abundant marine resources particularly first-class tuna and untapped minerals and gas deposits.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said whatever China is planning in our territory, they must drop it off because like the West Philippine Sea which they have been posing their irrational claim, we will again prove that Benham Rise is politically and legally belongs to our country, not to any foreign nations.
“They have been claiming and even built artificial islands in the Western part of our exclusive economic territory, they should abort whatever their goal is in our eastern part of the sea. Like the West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise belongs to the Filipino people, it is part of our exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf as ruled by the international law,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.