Group of fishermen wants to oust Duterte
A group of fishermen has expressed strong opposition against President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-people policies such as the proposed Charter Change (CHACHA) and the newly-approved Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
The fisherfolk group also decried the continuous intrusion of large-scale commercial fishing fleets within the 15-kilometer municipal fishing waters allotted to small-fisherfolk, while the monopoly-control of vast-tracts of aquaculture farms is still prevalent due to the foreshore and fishpond lease agreement (FLA) of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
In a statement, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said the law fails to protect the rights of every Filipino fisherfolk in their fishing grounds and coastal communities as seen on the passing of the National Reclamation Plan (NRP), which targets to reclaim and convert thousands of hectares of fishing waters throughout the archipelago.
To be specific, more than 20,000 hectares of Manila Bay have been reclaimed over the last three decades resulting to displacement of at least 40,000 fishing families in the part of Roxas Boulevard, where the SM Mall of Asia and other commercial establishments are situated.
20 years since its implementation, the Fisheries Code has unleashed its most brutal attack against the rights of the fishing people after it has been amended under the Republic Act 10654, said PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas.
The amendment is the government’s compliance with the European Union (EU) demand to deter the so-called illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) in the country where even the backward and traditional modes of fishing have been categorized as illegal, targeting small and subsistent fisherfolk.
“Every small-fisherfolk and fish workers in the country are considered as modern-day slaves courtesy of the 20-year old Fisheries Code that is under the framework of foreign-dictated neoliberal policies and was designed to enslave the already impoverished sector in the country. Even its amendments did not eradicate the across-the-nation hunger and poverty experienced by the fishing sector,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson, said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA also slammed the skyrocketing price increase of basic commodities and oil products under the TRAIN law.
The progressive group said fisherfolk have immediately felt the devastating impact of TRAIN law in the beginning of the year because of the sudden increase of fishing production cost that eventually translates to the increase in the prices of rice, vegetables, and other food products.