Charter Change to further ocean grabbing, foreign intrusion in seas – PAMALAKAYA
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) expresses its strong opposition on the proposed Charter Change through the House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 which is to convene congress as constituent assembly to amend the constitution.
The salient feature of the proposed Charter Change will remove the economic provisions that favor Filipino nationals in the 1987 Constitution. These provisions prohibit 100% foreign-owned corporations from engaging in vital industries in the country and from owning public lands and utilities. PAMALAKAYA said this will further the ocean grabbing of Philippine waters by foreign fishing monopolies.
The fisherfolk group raised the specter of more sophisticated and destructive foreign fishing vessels approaching the Philippine waters and China’s escalating reclamation activities in the country’s exclusive economic zones.
“Our entire fishing territories and exclusive economic zones will be opened to more foreign commercial fishing fleets that will exploit our marine resources courtesy of President Rodrigo Duterte’s sell-out of our resources through the Charter Change. This will affect almost 2 million subsistence fisherfolk who will be deprived of their right to fishing waters, as well as more than 100 million fish consuming Filipinos”
“The Charter Change would be the basis of China to justify its continuous occupation and control of our natural resources in the West Philippine Sea, now including the Philippine Rise which Beijing has just shown interest in,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Hicap said that with the current set-up of 60-40 local-foreign ownership provided by the 1987 Constitution, almost 400 fishing ventures from Japan, United States, and European Union are currently operating in the Philippine seas through joint venture agreements with their local partners.
They mostly operate in Palawan Sea, South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Masbate Sea, Ragay Gulf, Batangas Bay, Central Visayas Sea, Davao Gulf and the Pacific areas of Quezon, Aurora, Batanes, Cagayan and open seas fronting South China Sea that include La Union, Pangasinan and Zambales.
“By deleting these already paltry protections in our economy, the once 60-40 local-foreign ownership would be disregarded and foreign fishing monopolies will completely dominate the Philippine seas,” added Hicap.
The group said amending the constitution in favor to foreign corporations is not only a disservice but treason to the Filipino people.
“Selling our natural resources to foreign companies will result to extreme poverty among the Filipino people. We vow to resist President Duterte’s Charter Change that will burden the Filipino people and will pave way for a complete centralization of power on President Duterte toward a full-blown dictatorship,” ended Hicap. ###