PAMALAKAYA slams militarization in Boracay
Manila, Philippines – In a protest staged by the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today, the rural-based group slashed the militarization in Boracay during its 6-month closure that will start on April 26.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) tapped the 630-member Joint Task Force Boracay from the regional police supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and civic groups. Also, the PCG sent a multi-role response vessel (MRRV) to conduct maritime security patrols around the island.
“President Duterte never disclosed to the public that his supposedly rehabilitation plan includes deployment of police forces in a full battle gear. We can’t see the point of militarizing the tourist island but to sow intimidation and curtail civil rights of the residents who stand affected by the 6-month closure,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said during the protest.
Hicap, a former Anakpawis Party-list solon, said that these troops from PCG be deployed in West Philippine Sea instead where the real threat of marine destruction caused by Chinese incursion is prevalent.
“Imbes na depensahan ang ating teritoryo na kinakamkam ng China sa West Philippine Sea, tila naglalamyerda ang mga kapulisan at PCG sa Boracay kung saan hindi naman sila kailangan,” added Hicap.
(Instead of defending our territory being claimed by China in the West Philippine Sea, the PCG and PNP seem to be wandering around Boracay where they are not needed in the first place.)
During the joint protest with the environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE), the fisherfolk and environmental groups assailed the total closure of Boracay while allowing the construction of a 23-hectare integrated casino proposed by a certain Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (GEG).
“The 6-month Boracay closure is not rehabilitation but a devastation of lives and livelihood of thousands of workers and residents in the island. How could it be a massive clean-up if you will construct a mega casino and other giant businesses along the shoreline of Boracay? We assert that this grand sellout of our island to foreign interests to stop and craft a genuine rehabilitation of the degrading island that will not affect the livelihood of its workers,” PAMALAKAYA and KALIKASAN said in a joint statement. ###