Fisherfolk tells Duterte to scrap the 3-year old EDCA
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday called the junking of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a U.S.-Ph military treaty that was signed under then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino” 3 years ago.
EDCA is a supplemental agreement to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allows American troops to use our land and facilities for free.
The fisherfolk group said it is about time for President Rodrigo Duterte to put his words into actions by cutting ties with our long-time colonizer and exploiter, the United States of America. PAMALAKAYA said Duterte’s previous pronouncements against the U.S. have yet to materialize since he recently allowed another Balikatan exercise between the Filipino and American troops to proceed next month in the guise of “humanitarian and civil assistance”.
“Unequal military agreements like EDCA and VFA allow American troops to violate our sovereign and territorial rights as a nation. It also allows U.S. to store its military armaments in our soil, making us a ground zero and vulnerable to attacks by America’s state enemies,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Raise sea row in ASEAN Summit – Duterte urged
Manila, Philipines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on the second day of 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit urged President Rodrigo Duterte to raise the sea row between the country and China involving the country’s exclusive economic zone in the state leaders attending the 4-day summit.
The country hosts the 30th ASEAN Summit from April 26-29 at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay, City.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA urged President Rodrigo Duterte not to miss a chance to bring up the issue of the maritime dispute to the Southeast Asian leaders. Despite the international tribunal ruling favoring the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea, China has yet to give up its claim and construction of islands and military facilities continues in the disputed waters. China’s massive reclamation activities might inflict heavy toll and irreversible damage to our marine biodiversity and moreover, to the livelihood of the Filipino fisherfolk in the long run.
Progress of bilateral talks by President Duterte with China have made the Filipino fishers return to their traditional fishing ground in Scarborough Shoal after years of being denied access to their livelihood due to Chinese harassment and intimidation.
EARTHDAY ACTION: Fisherfolk, environmentalists back top environment chief on pro-people, pro-environment policies
EARTHDAY ACTION: Fisherfolk, environmentalists back top environment chief on
pro-people, pro-environment policies
Manila, Philippines – Gathering at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) head office in Quezon, City, the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) and environmental activist Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KALIKASAN) on Earth Day pushed Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to continue its pro-environment and pro-people policies, namely, the suspension of numerous large-scale mining operations that rampantly destroy the environment and the demolition of vast-tract of fishpens in Laguna de Bay that pollute its aquatic resources.
“It is first time in our history that our environment Czar has prioritized the interest of the people and the environment over the narrow interest of the oligarchs. We laud Secretary Lopez’s persistent campaign against giant mining firms that destroy our mountains, forests and seas. Her anti-fishpen campaign is also highly notable as it is a long-time demand of the Laguna de Bay fishers whom for decades have been deprived of their common fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said during the protest.
Although welcoming Lopez’s actions, the fisherfolk group urges Lopez to also show objection against widespread reclamation and conversion of fishing waters that transform its productive fishing ground into private business ventures at the expense of its fragile marine environment and livelihood of the fisherfolk and coastal settlers.
Take banana-workers’ side over kin-by-marriage; install them in their farmlands –
Manila, Philippines – Expressing support to thousands of banana-workers in Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC) controlled Hijo Plantation in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) challenges President Rodrigo Duterte to assist and get the farmworkers installed in the 145-hectare contested banana plantation.
The farmworkers are set to reclaim portions of the plantation through the writ of installation issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). But LFC defies DAR’s order by deploying 700 fully-armed security guards near the campout of the beneficiaries.
Led by the agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI), farmworkers for almost 9 months have been picketing inside the plantation to assert their rightful and legal claim in their land. Harassments and human rights violations perpetrated by LFC private security guards against the farmworkers have been consistent as they assert their right to land.
Fishpen demolition won’t lead to food insecurity, conversion will
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday clarified that the campaign to demolish vast-tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay will not affect the food security in the country as long as it would be followed by a proper rehabilitation of the lake that would bring back its natural ecology.
The government through Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez is leading a national campaign to liberate the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake from private and corporate-owned fish pens. This is in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to let small fisherfolk maximize and benefit from the lake, whom for years have been deprived of their communal fishing grounds due to fish pen proliferation.
Several fish pen structures have been ejected since January including the Gozon-owned fish pens in Cardona, Rizal measuring 100 hectares.
The fisherfolk group seen this campaign as a welcomed development for the restoration of Laguna de Bay for it will initially unwind the lake from further degradation caused by chemical-based pellet feeds use in culturing fish. Read the rest of this entry »
Fisherfolk slams upcoming Balikatan drill
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday expressed opposition on the upcoming Philippines-United States Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercise which will be held on May this year.
Balikatan is an annual military exercise in the country involving Filipino and American troops as agreed on PH-U.S. military deals like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said they are dismayed by President Rodrigo Duterte for letting the military drill to proceed even if he expressed strong criticisms and statements before against U.S. military presence and intervention in our country.
“President Duterte lacks sincerity on his earlier pronouncements to stop all U.S.-Ph military exercise in the country and that he will make all American troops kicked out from our land,”
“We have been opposing these military drills ever since because this is undeniable state intervention and aggression by U.S. military troops under the guise of “combating terrorism’ and ‘humanitarian and civil assistance’. Today’s Balikatan is a plain and simple case of same wine in a different bottle. This Trump-directed military intervention is no different from previous military drills; one-sided and anti-Filipino defense pact between the Philippines in the United States,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Fire-affected fishers in Cavite need fishing gears, boats
Bacoor, Cavite – The fisherfolk in Maliksi III, Bacoor, Cavite who were devastated by the fire that hit their fishing community on April 5 now appeal to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to distribute fishing boats and fishing gears so they can return to their livelihood after the fire devastated their houses and other livelihood materials including fishing gears and boats.
The blaze leaves almost 500 families or more than 2,000 individuals homeless.
In a statement, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said next to economic relief and aid that the local and national government have distributed to the residents is livelihood support and subsidy to assure that they may be able to return to their source of livelihood and soften the impact of the blaze on their food security.
“We urge the BFAR to mobilize its calamity fund through its boat dispersal program. Making them return to their livelihood will assure that they could also return to their community,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group slammed the local government for its response right after the tragedy which offers the residents balik-probinsya program and relocation sites in Naic, Cavite, saying the affected residents don’t want to be removed permanently from their fishing community because it also means taking them out of their livelihood. The local government through Bacoor City Mayor Lani Revilla retracted their statement after they were exposed, saying their offer of balik-probinsya and relocation site are only optional.