Pamalakaya members in Paly island, Palawan decry red-tagging

Pamalakaya members in Paly island, Palawan decry red-tagging

Paly Bay in Taytay, Palawan.
Paly Bay in Taytay, Palawan.

Manila, Philippines – A day after advocates of fishing rights under Tanggol Magsasaka held their Fact-finding Mission in Paly island in Taytay town, Palawan, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) slammed the continuing red-tagging against its members as reprisal to opposing anti-fisherfolk policies being implemented by the local government units.

“Base sa report ng lokal na lider namin na si Ruel Araneta, sinubukang pakialaman ng kapitan ng barangay ang fact-finding mission, habang ang layunin lang nito ay data-gathering ukol sa mahirap nilang kalagayan. Mabuti na lang at nanindigan ang mga members ng Pamalakaya sa Paly island at natuloy ito,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a press statement.

Araneta said that Barangay Paly Chairperson Juliet Largado tried to impose her decision to change the venue of the activity to the barangay hall where elements of the Philippine Marines are deployed, amid local members’ preparations.

Hicap warned local officials in the said barangay to avoid being “little dictators” who think they have the right to decide over a people’s organization and undermine basic democratic rights such as right to safety, privacy, freedom of expression and self-organization.

“Mag-hunus-dili ang mga lokal na opisyal sa Paly kung ayaw nilang matulad sa isang lokal na opisyal ng Bacoor City. Gagawin namin yun kung gugustuhin ng mga members namin sa lugar,” Hicap warned.

Earlier, Pamalakaya filed a complaint at the Ombudsman against Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla for her reclamation of a fish pond, which the local fisherfolk believed is entry point of her plan, the Bacoor Reclamation and Development Project.

Hicap blamed the continuing red-tagging campaign of the Palawan Task Force to End the Local Armed Conflict (TF ELCAC) against Pamalakaya. Moreover, the group was being targeted because it sincerely advances the interests and welfare of small fisherfolk in Taytay town and Palawan province.

Pamalakaya-Palawan chapter successfully campaigned:

  • in 2016, against excessive fees such as P350 for “pana,” thus, P1,400 for usually 4 pieces being used per boat, and P150 for nylon cord;
  • in 2016, the fishing ban for “Lapu-lapu” was suspended;
  • in 2016, the closed season was narrowed down from 6 to 3 months (end of December to end of May, to March 1 to end of May);
  • in 2019, suspension of the 1-year closed season.

Palawan fisherfolk rely on Lapu-lapu for their household income as its farmgate prices are higher than other types.

“Bunga ng iligal at imoral na red-tagging ng Palawan Task Force, akala tuloy ng mga local officials ay kaya na nilang gawin ang gusto nila at atakehin ang Pamalakaya at ibang grupo, nang hindi nagiging accountable sa mga batas na nagtatanggol ng human rights. Malala nga na hindi na nila alam na kasama nga sa mandate nila ang human rights protection. Hindi namin hahayaan ito at gagawa kami ng mga hakbang para ipagtanggol ang mga members namin sa Paly at buong Palawan,” Hicap ended. ###

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