West Philippine Sea

Balikatan exercise impedes fishing activity in Zambales – fisherfolk group

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Balikatan exercise impedes fishing activity in Zambales – fisherfolk group

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Filipino, American troops in action during a exercise | Photo by inquirer.net

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.

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Fisherfolk deplores Chinese installation of missile systems in Spratlys

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Fisherfolk deplores Chinese installation of missile systems in Spratlysphil_180389.jpg

Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) strongly condemns the deployment of missile systems of China on the three artificial islands in Kalayaan Group of Islands (internationally Spratly Islands).

Reports claimed that China has installed cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross), Zamora Reef (Subi), and Panganiban Reef (Mischief) – three of the seven reefs seized and transformed by China into artificial islands despite the international arbitration decision invalidating their claim.

We condemn China’s installation of military armaments in our marine territory in the strongest possible terms. China has already reached the peak of violating our sovereign and territorial rights. And this is despite the existence of an international law which guarantees that the West Philippine Sea are indisputably part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA assailed the Duterte government’s constant silence on the issue, blaming President Rodrigo Duterte on why the contested waters are now armed and militarized.

We hold Duterte accountable over this Chinese takeover of our marine territory and resources. His consistent defeatist approach on this long-running sea row has now led to complete transformation of our resource-rich territory into a fortified Chinese military zone,” added Hicap, calling all Filipinos and patriots to unite and defend the territory against Chinese invasion and other forms of foreign intervention.

We call on the Filipino patriots to unite and actively assert our exclusive rights in the West Philippine Sea. We have no illusions that our President will step up to his role as chief executive and uphold our sovereign rights and territorial integrity,” ended Hicap. ###

Amid crackdown: Guard against foreign take-over of Boracay – fisherfolk group

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Amid crackdown: Guard against foreign take-over of Boracay – fisherfolk group

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Boracay Island | Photo by CNN Philippines

Manila, Philippines – Amid government move to shutdown resorts in Boracay, including the small and locally-operated, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas), warned against foreign take-over of the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards 2016 best island.  In December last year, it was reported that the Macau-based casino-resort operator plans to construct a $500-million integrated project at the said island.

’Lutong Macau’ ang layunin ni Duterte na irehabilitate ang Boracay sa pamamagitan ng pagpapasara rito habang may dambuhalang kumpanya mula China ang nagpaplanong magtayo ng magarbong casino-resort sa isla,” Pamalakaya-Pilipinas Chairperson and former Anakpawis representative Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The fisherfolk group was referring to the Filipino expression “lutong macau” which means a decision has been rigged or pre-arranged.

Based on news reports, Galaxy Entertainment and its local partner Leisure Resorts World Corp. are seeking regulatory approval for the $300-$500 million casino project in the country’s top tourist island.

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Duterte’s war-mode is sell-out of sovereignty in disguise – fisherfolk group

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Duterte’s war-mode is sell-out of sovereignty in disguise – fisherfolk groupDSC_0406.JPG

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.

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Develop local marine science and fishing industry, not “joint research” with China – fisherfolk

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Develop local marine science and fishing industry, not “joint research” with China –

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Philippine Rise | Photo by Interaksyon.com

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Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday said that by promoting and developing the local marine science industry, we could utilize and exploit the Philippine Rise on our own even without the help of China which has a vested interest over the 13-million-hectare underwater plateau.

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.

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Philippine Rise belongs to Ph – Fisherfolk to Malacañang

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Philippine Rise belongs to Ph – Fisherfolk to Malacañang050112 Benham Rise 1

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.

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Charter Change to further ocean grabbing, foreign intrusion in seas – PAMALAKAYA

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Charter Change to further ocean grabbing, foreign intrusion in seas – PAMALAKAYA

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Peasant groups picketed Department of Agriculture to oppose Charter Change

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) expresses its strong opposition on the proposed Charter Change through the House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 which is to convene congress as constituent assembly to amend the constitution.

The salient feature of the proposed Charter Change will remove the economic provisions that favor Filipino nationals in the 1987 Constitution. These provisions prohibit 100% foreign-owned corporations from engaging in vital industries in the country and from owning public lands and utilities. PAMALAKAYA said this will further the ocean grabbing of Philippine waters by foreign fishing monopolies.

The fisherfolk group raised the specter of more sophisticated and destructive foreign fishing vessels approaching the Philippine waters and China’s escalating reclamation activities in the country’s exclusive economic zones.

Our entire fishing territories and exclusive economic zones will be opened to more foreign commercial fishing fleets that will exploit our marine resources courtesy of President Rodrigo Duterte’s sell-out of our resources through the Charter Change. This will affect almost 2 million subsistence fisherfolk who will be deprived of their right to fishing waters, as well as more than 100 million fish consuming Filipinos”

“The Charter Change would be the basis of China to justify its continuous occupation and control of our natural resources in the West Philippine Sea, now including the Philippine Rise which Beijing has just shown interest in,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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