Duterte’s unstable promises
Fisherfolk’s one-year assessment to President Duterte
Manila, Philippines – “Among the prominent achievement of President Rodrigo Duterte within one year in his office is the unprecedented order to demolish vast tracts of fishpens in Laguna de Bay, which for years deprived the small fisherfolk of their communal fishing ground. The campaign was spearheaded by then environment Secretary Gina Lopez. We monitor that more than 1,000 hectares of fishpens have been demolished from the time of former Secretary Lopez, until she was rejected by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) and her position was taken over by ex-military Chief Roy Cimatu, where the campaign started by Lopez, by our knowledge is currently put on halt,” Fernando Hicap, Chairperson of fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said in a statement.
“On our sovereignty, we welcome President Duterte’s efforts to hold diplomatic negotiations with China resulting to the return of Filipino fisherfolk in Scarborough Shoal, after almost four years of being denied access to their traditional fishing zone due to intense Chinese militarization and hostility. But even so, the effort of President Duterte is not enough for China to completely surrender its irrational claim over our waters. Contrary to his promise, PresidentDuterte softens his assertion to China to stop its reclamation and leave the Philippine waters,” added Hicap.
“President Duterte has been mum on the long-time clamor of the fisherfolk to junk the almost two decades Fisheries Code of 1998, which was amended in time of President Benigno Aquino III through the Republic Act 10654. The hefty fines and strict fishing rules of the amended fisheries law afflict the fishing sector into deeper poverty. With the amended Fisheries Code, small-fishers today endure the heavy taxation and registration fees under the Boat Registration (BoatR) and Fish Registration (FishR) programs where they are compelled to enlist their fishing gears and even themselves to the local government only to be considered by the fisheries bureau as legal fisherfolk,” said Hicap.
“We are not surprised on why the administration pursues and actually widens the National Reclamation Program (NRP) and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which consists of multifold infrastructure projects. The “Dutertenomics” or the administration’s economic program focuses on major infrastructures largely funded by China. Some of the projects are land-based while some will be built on top of the water through reclamation and conversion of fishing waters. NRP consists of more than 100 reclamation projects covering 40,000 hectares of waters throughout the archipelago. These reclamation projects if completed would result to displacement of millions of fisherfolk and coastal settlers from their livelihood to pave way for private and even government projects,” Hicap lamented.
U.S. not a reliable ally to defend sovereignty – Duterte told
Manila, Philippines – Reacting from President Rodrigo Duterte questioning the United States (U.S.) on why it didn’t stop China from patrolling and building activities in the disputed West Philippine Sea, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said this flaunts how unequal our military agreements with the U.S. are.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said that since the sea row happens, the U.S. has repeatedly said that it won’t engage in any military activity against China. The fisherfolk group stressed how the U.S. owes trillions of dollars to China with billions of dollars of direct investments to make Washington take up the cudgels in defense of our waters at the cost of breaching its economic relations with Beijing.
“We tell President Duterte to stop indulging in daydreams; a powerful nation like the United States would not cross swords with a country where it is a huge debtor and has more economic interest over our parcel of islands. This is a clear indication that now is the time to disentangle from all unequal military pacts with the U.S. and pursue our own because nothing but the Filipino people can unconditionally die for our own country, not the U.S. posturing to be our long-time trusted ally,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group urged President Duterte to scrap all the existing military agreements with the U.S. including the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) because it makes our country as a mere U.S. springboard and pawn to maintain and secure its hegemony and economic and political interests over the Asia.
“President Duterte must lead in defending our territory. He must actively assert to China our legal and rightful claim on the disputed waters as peaceful as possible, as diplomatic as necessary,” Hicap said.
China previously stated its plan to build permanent structure in the Paracel islands including the Philippine-owned Scarborough Shoal. But latest statement from Beijing refuted their previous report.
‘Let the old-man off the hook’ – fisherfolk to President Duterte
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Thursday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to keep our diplomatic affairs particularly our relations with China off-limits to former President Fidel Ramos.
Former President Ramos has resigned as the country’s special envoy to China after President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing on October 18-21.
The fisherfolk group said Ramos’ resignation as special envoy has something to do with the President Duterte’s consistent tirades against the United States (U.S.) whom the former is a servile lap dog. It is apparent that Ramos and his ilk don’t want to settle the long-dispute in a very peaceful way, but rather, they want it with America’s assistance and guidance which is very far from reality as China has repeatedly warned of the possible implications of U.S. intervention in the issue.
“It’s not the country’s loss in the first place. Ramos’ resignation as special envoy to China was a good riddance for the country’s foreign and diplomatic affairs would be better off without him. As Uncle Sam’s rabid dog, we may not be able to reach this peaceful conclusion with China if we let this issue in the stateside-made hands of Ramos,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
President Duterte’s diplomatic conclusion with China bears fruit as the Filipino fishers are now able to return to Scarborough Shoal without them being chased and harassed by the Chinese Coast Guards. But it seems several local U.S. lapdogs are unresolved in the result of this peaceful resolution for they keep fussing over the country’s looming separation from the U.S. dictates.
“We are glad to see the back of Ramos. President Duterte should get rid of people like him regarding our foreign and diplomatic affairs. He better consult no less than the patriotic forces and Filipino people in resolving both the internal and external issues for more holistic patriotic foreign policies,” Hicap ended. ###
Fishers rejoice as they return to Scarborough Shoal
Manila, Philippines – The patriotic fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) rejoices as the Filipino fishers are now able to return and fish in the Scarborough Shoal.
Since Tuesday, Filipino fishers from Zambales and Pangasinan have been fishing in Scarborough Shoal without them being harassed and chased by the Chinese Coast Guards unlike before. This was after President Duterte’s state visit to China last October 18-21 where he had an informal talk with an unnamed Chinese leader regarding the territorial dispute.
“We welcome President Duterte’s concrete deeds to make our fishermen return to their traditional fishing grounds in Scarborough Shoal. Moreover, it is an initial victory for the Filipino fishermen who consistently aired their collective voices to assert their rights to the West Philippine Sea. Without the unity of the fisherfolk and other patriotic sectors and alliance who took up to the streets and engaged with government officials, we may not be able to take our territory back,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
Develop a West Philippine Sea utilization plan, President Duterte urged
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Sunday urged President Rodrigo Rodrigo Duterte to develop a utilization plan consists of detailed measures on how we should maximize our resources in the West Philippine Sea.
During President Duterte’s state visit in China last October 18-21, he didn’t raise the sea row formally but rather, scheduled a separate meeting that will discuss the issue of the territorial dispute.
90% of the South China Sea is being claimed by China through its 9-dash line theory, including the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and 150-nautical mile extended continental shelf (ECS). The long dispute poses threat among the Filipino fishermen as they are consecutively barred from entering in the Scarborough Shoal where China is building its military outposts through artificial islands.
“We are saddened for the President just let this important issue swift away without coming up with a formal agreement. He missed the boat when he had already come face to face with the Chinese President Xi Jinping yet he didn’t raise the issue of the sea row that for years now, has been affecting the livelihood of the Filipino fishermen,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
Amid growing tensions in West Philippine Sea, national unity through GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is a must – fisherfolk group
Amid growing tensions in West Philippine Sea, national unity through GRP-NDFP
peace negotiations is a must – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) urged the Duterte Administration to pursue the peace negotiations with the communist led-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the name of people’s unity and national interest.
This is at the height of growing tensions with China regarding the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea, which the former had posed its irrational claim. Although the International Tribunal ruled in favor to the Philippines’ claim on the disputed waters, China has been keen on its position not to comply on the said ruling as it maintains its claim that South China Sea is an indisputable sovereignty under their 9-dash line assumption.
“In these trying times, a national unity through peace talks between the GRP and the revolutionary movement is crucial. No amount of diplomatic talks can resolve this long running sea row unless us as a nation will unite and collectively uphold our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.
Fisherfolk group hailed the bravery of the Filipino fishers against Chinese invaders
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) applauds the bravery of Filipino fishermen who fought back the Chinese coast guards who drove them away while fishing in the West Philippine Sea on Tuesday.
The Chinese government, through their 9-dash line assumption, is aggressively claiming the West Philippine Sea which is part of the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS).
“That is the right thing to do. Due to government’s inaction to prevent the Chinese from harassing our people, our small fishers are forced to defend themselves to keep their livelihoods going in the face of China’s antagonistic presence in the West Philippine Sea,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.