Fishers’ group slammed lifting of Ph-China oil exploration ban in West Ph Sea

Fishers’ group slammed lifting of Ph-China oil exploration ban in West Ph Sea

Manila, Philippines – The militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) slammed the lifting of moratorium on joint oil exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea, saying the venture is “wrong on so many legal, political, and moral levels”.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said that pursuing the joint exploration with China “abandons” the 2016-ruling of The Hague-based international tribunal recognizing the Philippines as the sole claimant of the West Philippine Sea, while invalidating China’s historic 9-dash line assumption.

“Legally allowing China to exploit our resources is tantamount to violation of our right to self-determination, and right to utilize national patrimony for national development. We remind the Duterte regime that China aggressively occupies 80% of our exclusive economic zone, robs our marine resources, and harasses our fishermen. How could you expect a country that has no regard for our sovereignty to respect this joint venture?” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA said that “nothing favorable could come out from this shady and non-transparent oil exploration deal with a country who is geared to rake profit out of our marine and energy resources in the West Philippine Sea, leaving nothing for the Filipinos”.

“The deal also runs contrary to the provision of the constitution on national patrimony.” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative added, stating the provision in the Constitution saying that “the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources” and “the State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.

Lastly, the fishers’ group said that the resumption of the joint venture is a manifestation not only of the government’s “continuous puppetry to China, but also its neglect of a scientific and research development that would enable us to protect and utilize our very own territory and resources”.

“We don’t actually need China or any other country in exploring the potentials of our natural resources if only the government is sincere in developing and maintaining our research facilities. It would be another insult to our overwhelming intellectual human resources for this industry who are left abandoned and neglected by past and present administrations,” ended Hicap. ###

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