May 17, 2019
PAMALAKAYA slams irregularities, reported fraud in midterm polls
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) has assailed irregularities and fraud initially reported by its chapters, that eventually resulted to the dislodging of progressive candidates such as Anakpawis party-list and senatoriable Neri Colmenares in midterm elections held last Monday.
The coastal-based group was primarily condemning the intensified intervention of government security forces against Anakpawis, which is deemed illegal by the Omnibus Election Code.
“The Duterte government exhausted public funds and the state machinery against Anakpawis, to the point of threatening the electorate against voting and attacking the local leaders to undermine the campaign. This is worse than fraud, as it is an outright undermining of the supposedly civilian, free and democratic electoral practice,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The group, whose members acted as poll watchers on the elections day, seriously condemned the mass break down of the vote counting machines, the replacement of SD cards and the outage of the transparency server. It asserted that these failures are all breaches of the credibility and integrity of the election.
“There is indeed something fishy on the unexplained irregularities last elections which are mind-boggling and deserve a thorough scrutiny from no less than an independent body composed of election lawyers, people’s organizations, and information technology experts,” Hicap, former representative of Anakpawis Party-list added.
January 14, 2019
Fishers urged DENR to declare Manila Bay a ‘reclamation-free zone’
Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to perform its mandate in protecting the environment, including the Manila Bay by declaring it as a reclamation-free zone. This, the group added, is to effectively rehabilitate one of the country’s major fishing grounds which currently suffer from environmental degradation stage caused by past and present privatization projects.
The fisherfolk group earlier lambasted the DENR for using the issue of pollution to demolish hundreds of thousands of residents, mostly fisherfolk and pave way for large-scale land reclamation projects. PAMALAKAYA casts doubt on the seriousness of the DENR to rehabilitate Manila Bay, when the said agency has keep on facilitating processes of reclamation, including providing environmental permits to proponents and private developers.
“Just last week, one of our municipal chapters had acquired a notice of public scoping from the DENR to facilitate the proposal of a local government unit to reclaim 420 hectares of Manila Bay in the part of Bacoor, Cavite. While environment secretary Roy Cimatu blames Manila Bay residents of disposing garbage and domestic wastes in the sea, he failed to address on the other hand the lethal risk of massive reclamation projects to the marine environment and ecosystem. Reclamation has caused the traditional fish and shellfish species in Manila Bay to get extinct because coral reefs and mangrove forests have been destroyed to give way to commercial business districts and private establishments which only benefit giant businesses,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Imported GG poses health risk to humans – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – “Not only that imported, frozen round scad (galunggong) is no longer fresh, but also a health risk for consumers because they are often contaminated with formalin to make them last long,” according to the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas), warning the public not to patronize and oppose the importation of 17,000 metric tons of galunggong approved by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
“Both DA and BFAR obviously don’t care about the welfare of the people; aside from we will be fed with stale fish (bilasa), our health will be put at risk. It is already a fact that majority of imported frozen marine products especially coming from China are tainted with formalin, a chemical primarily used to preserve cadavers. Just imagine if this chemical will be infused into the food that we eat!” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Scientific studies said that formalin is highly toxic and pose short-term health effects to humans including coughing, wheezing, nausea, irritation of skin, nose, and throat; while long term effect may lead to leukemia and cancer.
Fishers hit unlimited imports of rice and fish through QR lifting, zero tariff
Manila, Philippines – “Lifting the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice importation and imposing a zero tariff on imported fish will be the last nail in the coffin for Filipino food producers such as farmers and fisherfolk,” according to the activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) reacting to the plan of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and economic managers during their meeting last July 31.
Arroyo along with economic bloc in the Duterte government said the proposed policy on importation is to “address the inflation”. But for the fisherfolk group, the lifting of QR and zero tariff on rice and fish will bring economic disaster to local food producers.
“We are already importing an average of 500, 000 metric tons of fish every year. To set the tariff on imported fish down to zero will completely kill the livelihood of Filipino fisherfolk because domestic market will primarily depend on marine and aquatic products coming from the foreign market. Everything on our table from rice to entrée will be imported,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group claims shortage can never be the reason on why the country should rely on import because in the first place, according to them, the country exports tons after tons of fish products every year. They said from 1994 up to the present, the Philippines’ marine export rose to 120%, or a total of 333, 465 metric tons in 2013 alone. PAMALAKAYA said the exportation influx is despite the 15% loss of fish consumption in the country yearly.
“The unlimited importation of rice and fish will render the domestic market and local prices unstable. But moreover, it will leave small farmers and fishers at the losing end because while the government focuses on imports, local production remain backward as ever due to agriculture and economic policies dictated by foreign markets,”
“Flooding our local market with imported agricultural products will never bring food sustainability but to develop our agriculture through livelihood subsidy and our country to separate from unfair global economic and trade deals that promote liberalization such as World Trade Organization,” ended Hicap. ###