“Go outside your palace, talk to us” – Caraga farmers & fishers to Duterte
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Sunday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to face hundreds of farmers and fishers from the Caraga Region currently encamped at Mendiola, Manila since August 23 as part of their Manila Protest Camp dubbed as “Lakbayan Laban sa Kahirapan at Karahasan”.
Farmers and fishers under Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and PAMALAKAYA, consecutively, since the first day of their protest camp staged picket actions and dialogues with various government agencies concerning their sector.
Among the issues brought by the Caraga folks are landlessness and widespread land grabbing in the region, the illegal marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte which deprive fisherfolk of their right to fishing grounds, and the repressive fishing rules and regulations under the amended Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act 10654.
“The fisherfolk and farmers are on their third week in Manila yet no concrete commitments have been made by the government agencies they confronted to address the issues they raised,”
“The Presidet is too occupied on his war against drugs that claims thousands of lives while setting aside the ails in the countryside,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said the dialogue held by Caraga fishers with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in September 4 resulted to the usual empty promises and false hopes made by the bureau.
“Yung idinulog namin kaugnay sa marine sanctuary at pagpasok ng mga mapanira at dambuhalang barkong pangisda sa loob ng aming munisipal na pangisdaan, walang konkretong tugon ang BFAR bukod sa sinabing paiimbestigahan nila ito. Kaya si Pangulong Duterte na ang gusto naming makaharap ngayon dahil nakaharap na naming lahat ng ahensya nya na may kaugnayan sa aming sektor ngunit wala sa mga ito ang may malinaw na tugon sa aming mga daing,” Leopoldo Pelinta, PAMALAKAYA-Surigao del Norte Spokesperson said in a statement.
(“The issue we raised regarding marine sanctuaries and illegal entry of destructive and giant fishing fleets in the municipal waters, there was no concrete commitment from the BFAR aside from their promise to conduct an investigation on the issue. That is why this time, we want to raise our issues to no less than President Duterte because we’ve already confronted his agencies yet none of them has provided a definite conclusion to our demands,”)
The group said they will rattle the gates of Mendiola Peace Arch in their remaining week in Manila to urge President Duterte to go outside of his palace and heed the plight of farmers and fishers. ###