President Rodrigo Duterte
China’s intrusion should top the agenda in the ASEAN meet – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Saturday urged Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayteno to make the sea row, particularly China’s unabated reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea as the top agenda on the 50th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which is currently being held in Manila this weekend.
The fisherfolk group raises doubt on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that the ASEAN delegates will primarily tackle in the series of meetings, saying the proposed framework is neither legally binding nor enforceable.
China has already reclaimed seven reefs in the West Philippine Sea; three of them now facilitate the installation of military facilities. All of the reclaimed reefs and islands are indisputably part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS) as stated by the 2012 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The 2016 international tribunal ruling strengthens our legal claim over the disputed maritime territory.
The group also urged Cayetano to retract President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to enter a joint oil and gas exploration agreement with China in the West Philippine Sea because it could lead to total sell-out of our sovereignty to Beijing.
PAMALAKAYA fears the proposed joint venture with China would lead to another deprivation of Filipino fishermen to their traditional fishing ground in the West Philippine Sea because the fishing area might be declared as off limits for fishing activities once the joint exploration takes place. Another concern raised by the fisherfolk group is China’s highly sophisticated drilling rigs and exploration equipments that could exploit our marine and mineral resources.
“We urge Secretary Cayetano to raise the issue of Chinese illegal occupation and reclamation in the West Philippine Sea. These are the opportunities that the diplomat official shouldn’t miss. We expect Cayetano to diplomatically and actively assert our sovereign and territorial rights before the ASEAN delegates,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Aside from China and the Philippines, other countries who have overlapping claims over the South China Sea are Tauwa, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. ###
Proposed 2018 GAA loaded with demolition budget – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday decried the P3.8 trillion proposed national budget for 2018, a 12.4% higher than this year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA) where bulk of the budget or a whopping P1.097 trillion is meant for big-ticket infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program of the Dutertenomics.
The group fears massive displacement and demolition of urban poor and fishing communities in pursuant to these infrastructure projects.
“The 2018 proposed national budget is prone to corruption and loaded with displacement of urban poor and fisherfolk from communities and livelihood. President Duterte’s addiction to infrastructure projects prevent him to realize that the economic plan he’s focusing on is actually detrimental to the Filipino people and would less likely to contribute to economic growth. He even fails to include budget for resettlement areas for the poor families who will be affected by the projects,”
“With President Duterte’s line up of infrastructures, we will not be surprised if hundreds of reclamation projects pending throughout the Philippine waters would push through,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said more than 100 coastal reclamation projects under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) are awaiting for the palace’s approval. This covers almost 40,000 hectares of fishing waters and coastal areas, and if completed would effectively wipe out fishing and coastal communities from the Philippine map. NRP mainly includes construction of commercial establishments, eco-tourism, industrial and business hubs.
The 29% increase of budget for infrastructure is to expedite the construction of railways, airport, seaports, and bridges, where huge part of it will be sourced from local and foreign debt.
“The budget increase would gratify the pet projects of both local and foreign developers and even local government. Build, Build, Build is privatization of public lands and facilities and debt-driven program that will benefit no one but the giant local and foreign oligarchs. In the end, hardworking Filipinos will shoulder the burden of this Dutertenomics’ mess through unwarranted tax increase,” added Hicap.
Joint exploration in West Philippine Sea immoral and unconstitutional – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The national alliance of fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday opposed the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to engage in a joint gas and oil exploration with China in the contested West Philippine Sea, saying this means total surrender of our territory and patrimony to Beijing.
West Philippine Sea is part of the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS), therefore, only the Philippines has the right to explore, develop, and utilize its natural resources as stated in the National Economy and Patrimony provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
The fisherfolk group claims we have the entire historical, legal, and political basis to exercise our right over the disputed West Philippine Sea and they are dismayed by how President Duterte abandons these bases.
“After all the hard work and tireless efforts we’ve made to make the world recognize our right in West Philippine Sea, the President seems to waste it all by approving joint oil and gas exploration in our water. President Duterte has gone overboard to compromise our territory; he does nothing to stop Chinese reclamation activities in West Philippine Sea that threaten its marine biodiversity, he lets giant Chinese fishing vessels to exploit our marine resources leaving less for Filipino fishermen, and now he wants to open the area for unequal joint exploration. With China’s more sophisticated exploration technology, there would be nothing left to us,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA condemns killing of fisherfolk leader in Negros Oriental
Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk leader Roberto Tecson was shot dead yesterday in their house in Brgy. Bulado, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental in front of his children. Tecson was the Chairperson of the municipal chapter of fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Guihulngan City.
According from the report of human rights group KARAPATAN Negros Island, past 10:00 in the evening yesterday, Tecson was gunned down by 6 riding in tandem wearing bonnets. Also according to his wife Lorna, on July 23, day before the incident happened, members of the Philippine Army under the 79th Infantry Battalion were hunting Roberto, accusing him of transporting armed groups using his pump boat. On July 24, hours before the incident, the military returned to the community and looked for him while his wife the protest rally for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA).
PAMALAKAYA in a statement claimed that Tecson was a legitimate and active member of PAMALAKAYA who led his fellow fisherfolk in the community in the campaign against repressive provisions of the amended Fisheries Code or Republic Act 10654. This includes exorbitant fines and fees, and strict fishing rules imposed among small fisherfolk.
“While President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his state of the nation address, his trigger-happy military forces were following the call of duty to silence and kill the dissents. We strongly condemn this state-perpetrated killing of our fisherfolk leader,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The group slams President Duterte’s total war declaration against the revolutionary movement which actually targets unarmed and ordinary mass movements and activist leaders.
“This culture of impunity and climate of injustice are prevalent under the Duterte administration who just declared a total war against the Filipino people especially among the ranks of farmers and fishers who resist oppressive government laws and programs and assert their civil rights,”
“The declaration of total war is embedded with heavy deployment of military in the rural communities that always results to grave human rights abuses against ordinary civilians,” Hicap said.
The fisherfolk group said this recent incident strengthens their call for the resumption of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Duterte government to attain lasting peace that is based on justice.
“We demand justice for our slain fisherfolk leader. We want justice for all the victims of political related killings and persecution under this administration,” ended Hicap. ###
Fisherfolk unperturbed with President Duterte’s SONA, slams planned joint
exploration with China
Manila, Philippines — “President Rodrigo Duterte’s state of the nation was filled with hollow and expletive rhetoric, failed to address the plight of the Filipino people,” This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte yesterday.
The fisherfolk group who mobilized hundreds of its fisherfolk members mainly from Southern Tagalog region assailed President Duterte for not making good on his progressive promises before on the fishing sector, particularly the active assertion of our territorial and sovereign rights in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
PAMALAKAYA rejects the joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea that President Duterte announced during the press conference conducted at the House of Representatives after his SONA.
“We are dismayed by the softening of President Duterte towards China. We do not want him to exactly do what he promised before on riding a jet ski and stick a Philippine flag in Scarborough Shoal. But everything he promised except making Filipino fisherfolk return to Scarborough Shoal turned into lies,”