PAMALAKAYA condemns killing of 2 Vietnamese fishermen; slams Philippine Navy’s
trigger-happy in the sea
Manila, Philippines – “The Philippine Navy should have apprehended the Vietnamese poachers and confiscated their fishing gears peacefully instead of resorting to violence and gun fire,”
This was the statement of the national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday denouncing the Philippine Navy’s violent approach to the Vietnamese fishermen who illegally entered our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) last Saturday evening.
According to police report, the shooting incident happened at around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday where some 49 members of the Philippine Navy spotted 6 Vietnamese vessels illegally fishing in Philippine waters, about 34 nautical miles from the town of Bolinao in Pangasinan. The Philippine Navy then fired warning shots against the Vietnamese vessels while trying to escape, resulting to the death of 2 Vietnamese fishermen, while 5 of their companions have been arrested.
The fisherfolk group said that while they recognize and condemn the illegal fishing activities committed by the Vietnamese fishermen within our waters, responding them with military force is overkill and uncalled-for.
The group fears that the same violence might happen to Filipino fishermen if they accidentally washed up on foreign coasts, particularly in Vietnam.
“We fear for retaliation against our Filipino fishermen. There are incidents where Filipino vessels accidentally washed up on foreign waters due to turbulent weather and strong tidal waves. And we are afraid that they might be doomed with the same fate suffered by Vietnamese fishermen if they get caught by counterpart security forces,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA slams the Philippine Navy for acting like incredible hulk against small-time fishermen while being a wimpy kid to China’s illegal occupation in the West Philippine Sea.
“It just shows that the trigger-happy Philippine Navy can only flex muscles in front of defenseless small-time fishermen. China for years has been aggressive and antagonistic in depriving the Filipino fishermen of access to their traditional fishing grounds, yet we never heard that the Philippine Navy has even fired a single shot against the Chinese intruders,”
“We challenge the Philippine Navy to have their guts in preventing Chinese vessels from doing illegal reclamation activities and fishing expedition in our exclusive economic zone. Security forces like the Philippine Navy should be for external threat and foreign intervention, not for some small-time illegal fishermen like the Vietnamese that they encountered,” ended Hicap. ###