President Rodrigo Duterte
Don’t go soft on China, assert right in West Ph Sea – Fisherfolk to Duterte
Manila, Philippines – As China is pouring billions of dollars of loan grants for Philippine infrastructure projects, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) expresses fear that President Rodrigo Duterte might be blinded by the investments and fail to assert our rightful claim over the disputed West Philippine Sea.
China claims almost 90% of the South China Sea or equivalent to 80% of our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS) through the 9-dash line assumption. Even with the decision of the international tribunal favoring the Philippines’ claim over the sea, China refuses to comply with the verdict. It was almost 4 years that the Filipino fisherfolk were deprived by Chinese personnel to fish in Scarborough Shoal until President Duterte’s first state visit to Beijing on October last year that led to our cordial relation with China. But even so, China has yet to completely surrender its irrational claim over the disputed waters as it continues to build artificial structures intended for military facilities.
Although PAMALAKAYA welcomes President Duterte’s effort to demand China to respect the rights of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal, the fisherfolk group scores the major turn back of President Duterte on its promise to actively assert our legal and political rights to end China’s illegal occupation in our territory. As President Duterte’s economic policy shifts towards China, the group fears it equates to complete disregard of our unresolved maritime dispute with Beijing.
West Philippine Sea is a strategic fishing hub for Filipino fishers. It produces an average of 5,000 metric tons of fish products per year. Fisherfolk from Zambales, Bataan, Pangasinan, and Batangas rely on its rich marine resources.
US-operated AFP at the wheel on war on terror – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday lashed out at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for letting the United States (U.S.) intervene on the ongoing war against the local terrorist group Maute in Marawi City.
The fisherfolk group said President Rodrigo Duterte loses its command over his own military. It seems that only those military generals in his Cabinet have control on the ongoing conflict particularly Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año who deliberately allow American military forces to intervene in the Marawi siege. President Duterte admitted that he was unaware of the presence of American troops in Marawi to provide Filipino troopers with “technical support”.
PAMALAKAYA said foreign meddling in our internal conflict is a clear violation of our sovereignty and constitution. Whether it is for technical or direct support through operations, the U.S. army has no right to interfere in our civil war. The group warned President Duterte on how the U.S. leaves Middle East countries that have ongoing armed conflict devastated after its “military aid and assistance”.
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.
Fisherfolk warns Duterte on Silk Road-deals
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday cautioned President Rodrigo Duterte on the economic and trade deals he would enter with China that could compromise our sovereign and territorial rights.
President Rodrigo Duterte is currently in Beijing for a two-day summit on China’s foreign policy program or the Silk Road dubbed as One Belt, One Road Initiative.
PAMALAKAYA said it is hard to trust that China would benevolently grant billions of dollar aid to the Philippines when we have unresolved issue with the former especially in the disputed West Philippine Sea. Beijing has been posing its irrational claim over our exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf that had resulted to the deprivation of Filipino fishers to enter their traditional fishing ground. Although China has allowed Filipino fisherfolk to fish in Scarborough Shoal since last year, they have yet to completely surrender their claim over the waters; they even continue to build permanent structures in the area.
“Given the unresolved sea row and China’s forceful claim over our water, it is improbable that they will charitably provide assistance to us. We fear that the assistance like infrastructure projects that China has to offer will require our complete surrender of our territory in the West Philippine Sea,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said history shows that flooding our country with foreign investments does not help our economy to advance; instead, these unfair economic and trade deals retain embedded with foreign investments retain our weak economy backward because we merely rely to foreign aid without developing our own basic industries.
“We urge President Duterte not to get dazzled by China’s billions of aid, instead, he must make good on his promise in pursuing independent foreign policy for genuine development. He must also actively assert our rightful claim in the West Philippine Sea to save our marine resources from further destruction due to China’s rampant reclamation activities,” ended Hicap. ###
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.
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.