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.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA warned President Rodrigo Duterte not to take orders from the United States especially when it involves our external affairs knowing that the U.S. has its economic and territorial agenda in the disputed waters because of its strategic and favorable location for their economic and military interests. That is why the U.S. keeps inducing the current administration to impose our claim in the disputed waters in order for them to takeover in pursuance of its pivot to Asia.
“The United States should take its hands off our external dispute and any internal affairs. Their agenda is not to uphold our sovereignty but for them to fully control our territory and resources towards its planned-complete hegemony over the region,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group urged President Duterte to keep its diplomatic talks with Beijing in order to come up with a peaceful conclusion on the sea row. ###