Fisherfolk group lauds Duterte’s move to make fishers return to Scarborough Shoal
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) hails presumptive President Duterte’s effort to make the Filipino fishers return to fish in Scarborough Shoal.
Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte made an appeal to the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua to allow Filipino fishermen to continue fishing in the West Philippine Sea.
Pamalakaya said that this is a welcome development for the Filipino fishers who had long been deprived of their traditional fishing grounds due to the dispute. Prior to this, Filipino fishers have been experiencing harassment and intimidation from the Chinese Coast Guards when the former go within the areas China is claiming.
“We laud the effort of Presumptive President Duterte on its effort to make our fishers return to their traditional fishing areas. This is a good start towards the end of this long territorial dispute that is making the lives of our fishers difficult and miserable,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in statement.
Pamalakaya also urged presumptive President Duterte to pursue and sustain his bilateral talks with China until we completely make in possession of what is rightfully ours in the West Philippine Sea.
“We should present all the facts and details that will show China that the West Philippine Sea is no longer in a contention because it is legally, historically and politically belongs to us,”
“We are always willing to cooperate with Duterte regarding this matter for the sake of our Filipino fishermen and in the name of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” France added.
Meanwhile, the fisherfolk group castigated the outgoing Aquino administration for failing its duty to protect and support our fishers who were affected by the dispute.
“Outgoing President Aquino had failed to protect the dispute-affected Filipino fishers while he was in Malacanang. He turned a blind eye to the harassment and intimidation done to our fishers by the Chinese Coast Guards which eventually displaced our fishermen from their livelihood,” France insisted.
“Also, we will seek further probe on Senator Trillanes’ covert negotiations to the Chinese government without the public’s awareness and whether this has something to do with China’s tightening its security in the West Philippine Sea at the height of the dispute,” France ended. ###