Pamalakaya to Duterte: Let’s talk fish
Country’s poorest of the poor sector should be one of Duterte’s top priorities on his first 100 days
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) dared the presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to address the enduring poverty among the fisherfolk of our country.
Within the six years of outgoing President Aquino in Malacanang, the fisherfolk suffered the worst poverty among all the poor sectors of the country. By government accounts, 2 out of 5 fishers are gravely suffering from extreme famine or 39.2 percent of fisherfolk survive in less than P50 per day, with nil support from the government.
Pamalakaya lays the blame on the newly-amended Fisheries Code of 1998 on the worsening plight of small scale fishers, denouncing the law as promoting the foreign-plunder of the country’s rich marine and fisheries resources to the detriment of small scale fishers, who are eased out from and denied access to these resources which are rightfully theirs in the first place. Much worse are the stricter fishing rules and regulations and the exorbitant taxes and fines imposed on fishers under its amendments.
Under the amended Fisheries Code, fishers are required to register their fishing boats and gears at excessive fees, a color coding scheme that limited the number of days fishers can go fishing, and the absurd rule to report the quantity and the kind of fish they caught. These impositions worsen the poverty situation faced by poor fishers all over the country.
“The resolution for the decade old poverty among fishers is a big must for the Duterte administration. The poor fishers in this country have suffered enough. President Duterte should measure for measure and immediately address this issue in his first 100 days in the office.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group dared Duterte to put as top of his agenda the repeal of the newly-amended fisheries code of 1998 and come up with a new fisheries law that would truly serve the needs of millions of small scale fishers in this country.
“If the situation permits, we are ready to talk directly to Duterte and present our concrete demands on how to improve the lives of our impoverished fishers and lift them out of persistent hunger and poverty,” France added.
“We challenge President Duterte to walk the talk, even as we recognize that these problems we are asking him to swiftly resolve were largely the results of past administrations’ dereliction of their duty to attend to the welfare of the fishers of this country. We challenge him to put to action his ‘pro-people’ election campaign promise as we are always ready to hold him accountable if he turns fishy and reneges from his promises.” France ended. ###