PAMALAKAYA slams Philippine Coast Guard, MARINA for harassment of Manila Bay-fishers
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) denounces the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) over their harassment and intimidation against the fisherfolk who staged a Manila Bay-wide fluvial protest in time of the World Fisheries Day yesterday.
More than 20 fishing boats yesterday staged a fluvial protest in Baywalk Manila to oppose the 42 approved reclamation projects in Manila Bay covering 29, 929 hectares of waters under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) of the Duterte administration.
Prior to the fluvial parade, elements of MARINA had threatened members of PAMALAKAYA in Navotas and Bulacan not to join the rally, or else, their fishing boats will be impounded.
While voyaging on their way to the assembly point in Baywalk Manila, fishing boats from Navotas and Cavite were blocked and surrounded by at least vessels of PCG, asserting that protests are not allowed in the area and that they are still under the “ASEAN mode”, referring to the heightened security alert status of the security forces during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit which has already ended one week ago.
“This is fascism in the sea; the Philippine Coast Guard who is supposed to guard the fisherfolk from any harm now serves as the instrument of giant developers and capitalists to push their aggression projects in our fishing waters. We strongly condemn this harassment and intimidation committed by both the PCG and MARINA against our members,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group said they were only practicing their constitutional freedom of assembly carrying their legitimate calls for right to livelihood but the coastal-based state forces deprived them of that right. PAMALAKAYA also lambasts the PCG for being inutile to defend the country’s marine territory in the West Philippine Sea that is aggressively claimed by China.
“Instead of mobilizing their troops in West Philippine Sea to defend our contested exclusive economic zones, the PCG is out there in Manila Bay, harassing Filipino fishermen like what the Chinese personnel has been doing to us in Scarborough Shoal. The PCG can only pick on small fisherfolk, but they are afraid to flex their muscles toward the giant bullies and foreign aggressors like China,” added Hicap.
PAMALAKAYA is planning to storm the office of the Philippine Coast Guard and MARINA to denounce the harassment. ###