PAMALAKAYA rejects “Korean-invasion” in Ph seas; says fisheries deal with South Korea will further export-orientation, to pull down self-sufficiency
Manila, Philippines — “It seems that the K-pop invasion has already reached our seas and the local fishing industry. We reject to give a finger heart on this new face of liberalization of fisheries and opening of the floodgates to another country that will plunder our aquatic and marine resources.” This was the reaction of the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday, opposing the newly-signed deal that will expand fisheries trade and cooperation between the Philippines and South Korea.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the agreement was already signed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar and Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries minister Seong-Hyeok Moon during the sidelines of the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit this week.
The cooperation will pursue and promote scientific and technical, economic, and trade cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture.
For its part, PAMALAKAYA called the first-ever deal as “old wine in a new bottle”, saying it would only further the import-dependence on consumption, and export-oriented production of the country, maintaining our local agriculture and fisheries stunted and underdeveloped.
“This is nothing new but additional face of foreign plunder of our fishery resources. Due to policies favoring foreign interests, the country’s waters are utilized for their requirements, instead of fulfilling poor Filipinos’ daily subsistence. We are facing the Chinese aggression and plunder in the West Philippine Sea, that has already affected the livelihood of the fisherfolk sector and national economy, but the Duterte government is again throwing Filipino interests at a disadvantage via this agreement,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk leader said that relying on importation will undermine the local food security and fish self-sufficiency.
He said that though government pegged the self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) for milkfish, tilapia, shrimps prawns, crabs and oysters, at around 128% in 2016, these products remain unaffordable to poor sectors. Galunggong SSR has been hanging less than a hundred percent, while tuna’s was at 84%. It added that these indicators are symptomatic of a skewed economic policy for an archipelagic country such as the Philippines.
“The DA should learn from the country’s constant mistakes on its approach to agricultural and fisheries production. Opening our industry to foreign entities will not lead to development, but will keep our agriculture backward and bankrupt,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative added.
“Instead, the DA should more prioritize improving our local fisheries and agriculture production by boosting the capacity of our fishers and farmers sans foreign intervention. This will secure that our own agricultural harvests will go directly to the tables of every Filipino families, not to be served in a silver platter overseas,” ended Hicap. ###