PAMALAKAYA to spearhead anti-Fisheries Code campaign
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) is set to lead an across-the-nation campaign to junk the 19-year old Fisheries Code of 1998 which according to the group is the main reason why the fishing sector remains poorest of the poor in the country.
The group said the amended Fisheries Code under the Republic Act 10654 exacerbates the miserable condition of the already impoverished fisherfolk through the excessive fees and taxes.
The national anti-fisheries code campaign at the minimum, aims to put a moratorium on the Boat Registration (BoatR) and Fisherfolk Registration (FishR) programs, which the fisherfolk complains for its hefty fees; while the central goal is to for the total scrapping of the law.
“The Fisheries Code still allows export-based commercial fishing fleets to exploit the municipal fishing waters that are intended for small-fishers. The amendments do not actually change anything in the law, rather, repressive fishing provisions like the registration and reporting scheme have been added to curtail the fishing activities of the fisherfolk,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
With the new provisions of the Fisheries Code, small fisherfolk are obliged to register their fishing boats, gears, and even themselves. Thus the once free profession has now a price that is detrimental for the small fishers. Fishers are also mandated to report their fish catch before the designated fish landing centers.
To start the campaign, PAMALAKAYA will file a house resolution through the Makabayan bloc in the Congress urging the committees responsible in the fishing sector to investigate the adverse impacts of the amended Fisheries Code in the fishing sector and how it affects the local fish supply in the market.
The group will also launch various forms of protest actions in the communities and government agencies to expose the evils of Fisheries Code.
“2018 would be a tireless and fierce struggle for the fishing sector. Two decades of liberalization of the fisheries is enough. We will fight for a new and genuine fisheries law that will guarantee the communal rights of the fisherfolk in the fishing waters and promote local fish production,” ended Hicap. ###