Philippine Rise belongs to Ph – Fisherfolk to Malacañang
Manila, Philippines — The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday lambasted the Malacanañg Palace over its pro-China statement stating that the Philippines can’t claim the Philippine Rise.
Philippine Rise is a 13-million-hectare resource rich underwater plateau located opposite to the disputed South China Sea, it has been declared by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in April 2012 as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Through the Executive Order No. 25 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May last year, the undersea feature has been renamed from Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.
A joint research between the Philippines and China has been approved by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which was opposed by the fishers group, saying the joint research blanketed with the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) is a pretext of China for another occupation activity in our marine territory.
“It appears that renaming the resource-rich feature to Philippine Rise is futile; what’s in the name when you will not exercise your sovereign rights and even allow other countries to claim and exploit our abundant marine resources under the guise of “joint research”. The renaming of Benham Rise was supposed to strengthen our claim on it, not to surrender,”
“Instead of crafting a comprehensive plan on how we can utilize and exploit its marine resources and gas reserves for the benefit of the country, the government has almost abandoned our legal claim,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Group slams absence of external security allocation in 2018 defense budget
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday questioned the 2018 proposed budget for the Department of National Defense (DND) that is worth P145 billion if this includes the development of external defense that will uphold our territory and sovereignty against foreign intervention, particularly against China who continues to claim most part of the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA lambasts the large budget allocation for the national defense which will definitely be used for its repressive war campaigns such as the all-out-war and martial law in the whole Mindanao.
“Instead of developing our external defense capabilities, the government is more devoted to its self-declared war against its so-called internal threat which actually targets ordinary civilians on the ground. We are dismayed that President Duterte has no plan to modernize our naval equipments to defend our sovereign rights from China’s illegal occupation and reclamation in our waters,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group says increasing the fighting capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should curtail the external threat rather than using it to intensify attacks against its own people under the banner of total war, war against drugs, and war on terror.
“The budget for defense is obviously a coffer to step up state-perpetrated offensives against the Filipino people especially those who actively resist government’s repressive policies and laws. President Duterte downplays the evident threat to our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” added Hicap.
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.