Mindanao martial law to push for destructive projects under BBB – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) strongly condemns the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao that was approved by the Congress yesterday.
The group said that aside from President Rodrigo Duterte’s tyrannical aspirations, the real score behind the extension of martial law is to push through its destructive projects under the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program that would benefit local and foreign investors and developers.
“The Filipino people have nothing to gain from the martial law in Mindanao, only giant oligarchs who have business interests in the region and Duterte who aspires for the concentration of power will benefit from the military rule,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement, citing that 3 of the 36 big-ticket infrastructure projects under the BBB are in Mindanao region, including the P40.57 billion expansion of the Davao City airport, P14.6 billion for the Laguindingan airport, and the P31.54 billion Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the Mindanao railway.
PAMALAKAYA said that aside from the BBB projects, the Mindanao martial law is devoted to plunderous projects that would affect the rural sector including the expansion of agro-corporation-plantations and implementation of marine sanctuaries.
There are one million hectares of plantations aimed to expand in Mindanao intended for oil palm, banana, pineapple, rubber, and sugar plantations, according to the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), all of these will displace farmers from their land and convert agricultural lands into vast export-crop plantations.
“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.
Fisherfolk asks probe into marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte
Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu to investigate the existing marine sanctuaries illegally operating in the province of Surigao del Norte that covers more than 600 hectares of its fishing waters.
Marine sanctuary in the municipality of General Luna covers 580 hectares in spite that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) only approved 200 hectares of sanctuary in the town. While in the municipality of San Isidro, there is an existing 33 hectares of marine sanctuary and another 30 hectares for expansion will be opened soon.
Marine Sanctuaries are designated areas declared by the BFAR where all types of fishing activities are prohibited in order to preserve marine species and give fish time to spawn. However, according to PAMALAKAYA, marine sanctuaries often lead to privatization and conversion of fishing waters into eco-tourism zones
The declared marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte now showcase leisure activities like boat riding, surfing, scuba diving, and sport fishing for local and foreign tourists.
“While we are being denied access from our traditional fishing zone, the local government unit opens the area to rest and recreation hub for tourists. This is the reason why we don’t buy the idea that marine sanctuaries are for the interest of small fisherfolk, because we know that the real score behind this sanctuaries is to transform the traditional use of fishing waters into money-making business both of the local government and investors,” Leopoldo Pelinta, PAMALAKAYA-Surigao del Norte Spokesperson said in a statement.
The group also contests the claim of BFAR that marine sanctuaries is for marine life protection, saying the bureau’s designated sea patrols or bantay dagat prohibit only small fishermen while inutile to destructive large-scale commercial fishing vessels. Ring net and Superlight fishing are prevalent in the municipal waters even within the declared marine sanctuaries, they are destructive especially the Superlight because it paralyzes and blinds the fish once its lamp submerge into the water. They are owned by influential politicians and individuals in the province.
Local fishermen in the province also notice the change of pattern of fish species in the region, like depletion of fish capture and loss of several fish species they used to catch before.
“How can you protect the marine environment if you convert its traditional use as a fishing ground? Eco-tourism results to ecosystem imbalance because you disturb the habitat of fish and other marine life,”
Fisherfolk laments marine sanctuary in Surigao del Norte
Manila, Philippines – The provincial chapter of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Surigao del Norte laments the existing marine sanctuaries covering more than 600 hectares of fishing waters in the province’s two municipalities, namely, the General Luna and San Isidro.
According to PAMALAKAYA-Surigao del Norte, the existing marine sanctuary in the municipality of General Luna is 580 hectares in spite that only 200 hectares were approved by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). While in the municipality of San Isidro, the coastal area for sanctuary is 33 hectares and another 30 hectares for expansion will be opened soon.
Marine sanctuaries are designated area declared by BFAR where all types of fishing activities are prohibited in order to preserve the marine species and pave way for the spawning of fish. However, according to PAMALAKAYA, marine sanctuaries often lead to privatization and conversion of fishing grounds into eco-tourism zone. The group also said that sanctuaries do not guarantee protection of marine species because BFAR’s bantay dagat or sea patrol is inutile to prevent the entry of large-scale commercial fishing fleets in the 15-kilometer municipal fishing area that use destructive and exploitative fishing gears like the hulbot-hulbot or Danish Seine where the latter is prevalent in the province.
The group said the declared marine sanctuaries in the province are guarded by policemen and the passageway of small fisherfolk even outside the declared area is strictly restricted.
Marine sanctuary might leave Scarborough Shoal wide open to foreign poachers –
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) told President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to declare the lagoon in Scarborough Shoal as a marine sanctuary for a reason to preserve the deteriorating marine resources in the fishing water.
Scarborough Shoal, which is 124 nautical miles away from the shoreline of the province of Zambales is part of the country’s 220-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and 150-nautical mile extended continental shelf (ECS). China takes its full control in the shoal on 2012 and aggressively prevented the Filipino fishermen from entering in the disputed waters. But after President Duterte’s state visit to China last October, Filipino fishers have now been able to return to their traditional fishing grounds.
Pamalakaya said declaring the lagoon as marine protected area might again result to depriving the Filipino fishers of their right to livelihood and fishing zones.
“Marine sanctuary might bring back the situation where Filipino fishers are not allowed to enter our own territory, but this time it will be our own law and government that will prohibit them, not China. Filipino fishers have yet to recover after years of deprivation and restriction from the West Philippine Sea. We fear that declaring it as marine sanctuary would pave way for another fishing blockade,” Hicap said.