Balikatan exercise impedes fishing activity in Zambales – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said an undeclared fishing ban in Zambales due to Balikatan exercise is in effect.
Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) is an annual military exercise between the Filipino and American troops as agreed on Philippine-United States military agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). This year’s Balikatan which is being held in San Antonio, Zambales from May 8-18, consists of almost 5,000 Filipino troops and 3,000 American soldiers, while there are also troops from Australia, Japan, and South Korea as observers.
The fisherfolk group said Balikatan exercises, especially those in coastal areas, are always incorporated with fishing ban to provide blanket security to the American forces. The coastal-based group said the ongoing Balikatan exercise likely affects not less than 20,000 fisherfolk from San Antonio and other neighboring coastal towns in Zambales.
“We condemn this new batch of military drill that sacrifices the socio-economic rights of Filipino fishers only to please the American masters of the Philippine government. No fisherfolk will dare to sail in the militarized waters because Filipino and American soldiers are obviously mobilizing thousands of their troops to impose an intimidating presence among the fishing communities in the province,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement, assailing President Rodrigo Duterte’s subservience to the United States by allowing the American troops to exploit our soil as a mere launching pad for war on aggression.
Duterte’s war-mode is sell-out of sovereignty in disguise – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday dismissed the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he would be willing to go to war to defend the Philippine Rise (former Benham Rise).
“He can’t even confront China on its continuous occupation and reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea. Worst is that he says nothing when Beijing has nearly completed the transformation into military fortress of the seven reefs in the Spratly Group of Islands that are part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone,”
“Duterte has clearly no ethos in defending our sovereignty because he is only after foreign investments and funding for his pet-infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program. His war-mode posture is more likely a PR-stunt to diffuse the public anger over his criminal neglect in protecting the West Philippine Sea from China’s continuous occupation,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said that if Duterte is really sincere in protecting our exclusive economic zones (EEZ), there is no need to use metaphorical jokes like taking a boat to confront the invaders; rather, he must pressure China to urgently stop its occupation activities in the West Philippine Sea, as well as to confront other powerful nations like the United States to stop its regular patrol in the disputed waters that might provoke China and increase the tension.
Fisherfolk rejects 2018 US military war games
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday slammed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año for soliciting military assistance to the United States (U.S.) in the form of Balikatan exercise or war games.
The AFP chief of staff announced a total of 261 agreed joint US-RP military activities after his visit to the U.S. last week for the Mutual Defense Board meeting.
In a statement, the fisherfolk group accused the General Año of being the America’s emissary to the country in order to execute war games that advance the U.S. geopolitical interest in the region while violating the country’s sovereign and territorial rights.
The group strongly opposes war games under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) for its unequal and one-sided provisions.
“American troops who commit crimes in our soil can easily get away with it because of these unfair military agreements. We fear for another Nicole and Jennifer Laude incidents because of this another set of military exercise,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group said President Rodrigo Duterte is following the footsteps of his predecessor Benigno Aquino III of increasing the U.S. military presence in the country at the cost of our sovereign rights and security of the Filipino people.
“President Duterte is embracing the same military policy that former President Aquino had carried out. Apparently, Duterte is now the number one lapdog of the country that he used despise,”
“After all the cuss and tirades against the U.S., in the end, it all leads to sheer puppetry,” Hicap added.
The group instead calls for the scrapping of all unequal military pacts with the United States and to totally kick out American troops in the Philippine soil. ###
Fisherfolk slams upcoming Balikatan drill
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday expressed opposition on the upcoming Philippines-United States Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercise which will be held on May this year.
Balikatan is an annual military exercise in the country involving Filipino and American troops as agreed on PH-U.S. military deals like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said they are dismayed by President Rodrigo Duterte for letting the military drill to proceed even if he expressed strong criticisms and statements before against U.S. military presence and intervention in our country.
“President Duterte lacks sincerity on his earlier pronouncements to stop all U.S.-Ph military exercise in the country and that he will make all American troops kicked out from our land,”
“We have been opposing these military drills ever since because this is undeniable state intervention and aggression by U.S. military troops under the guise of “combating terrorism’ and ‘humanitarian and civil assistance’. Today’s Balikatan is a plain and simple case of same wine in a different bottle. This Trump-directed military intervention is no different from previous military drills; one-sided and anti-Filipino defense pact between the Philippines in the United States,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
U.S. Pentagon runs AFP – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – With the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continuation of its hostilities in the countryside despite the ongoing peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), it is crystal clear that President Rodrigo Duterte is out of hand with his armed troops, said the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday.
The fisherfolk group slams the AFP for its ongoing presence in Brgy. Patungan, a 602-hectare coastal community in Maragondon, Cavite where 353 fisherfolk families have been facing a threat of demolition since last year to pave way for private beach resort of the Maria Teresa Virata (MTV) Corp.
On Friday, the regional chapter of PAMALAKAYA in Southern Tagalog reported the presence of around 80 combination of Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) in the community. The residents feared the presence of the armed troops might lead to another violent demolition attempt like what happened last year.
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.
Fisherfolk to Duterte: Assert sovereignty against foreign intervention
Manila, Philippines – “President Duterte must fervently uphold our sovereignty against any foreign domination, whether it be the United States (U.S.) or China,”
This was the response of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) when a Washington-based think tank group Center for Strategic and International Studies (CISS) said to President Rodrigo Duterte to assert the country’s right over the disputed West Philippine Sea.
China for years has been posing its irrational claim in almost 90% of the South China Sea, of which $5 trillion dollar-worth of global ship trade passes each year. This includes the 80% of the country’s 220-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and another 150 extended continental shelf (ECS). The dispute has inflicted threat to the livelihood of the Filipino fishers who were deprived of their traditional fishing grounds since the sea row occurred. But due to the collective action of the patriotic sectors in the country and the initiative of the Duterte administration to talk diplomatically to China, the Filipino fishers have now been able to return to their fishing ground since last year.