Manila, Philippines – The progressive fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on the Day of Valor on Friday called on the Filipinos to manifest spirit of patriotism in the face of heightening Chinese annexation and aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
“It is patriotic duty of every Filipino to fight for our territorial integrity, sovereignty and national patrimony. The Filipinos’ collective struggle should aim to wrest back sovereign control of the West Philippine Sea and the marine resources within the country’s exclusive economic zone,” Pedro “Tata Pido” Gonzales, PAMALAKAYA Vice Chair Emeritus said during the online protest organized by the broad alliance Pilipinong Nagkakaisa Para sa Soberanya (P1NAS).
The fishers’ group said the Filipinos must protest for the removal of about 200 Chinese vessels swarming in Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef) and other parts of the West Philippine Sea.
“Large-scale fishing expeditions by China is resulting to overexploitation of marine resources and decline of fish stocks. Moreover, these Chinese fishing vessels are notorious for harvesting giant clams, sea turtles, corals, among other endangered marine wildlife. These are our national patrimony and wealth in marine biodiversity,” Gonzales lamented.
PAMALAKAYA accused China of displaying aggressive and antagonistic behavior over their military facilities issuing radio warnings and chasing away Philippine aircraft and maritime vessels which have flown or sailed near these facilities.
The fishers’ group also called on freedom-loving Filipinos and champions of national patrimony and sovereignty to expose and oppose the Duterte government’s “betrayal of the national interest and treason”.
“Kowtowing to China, President Duterte has put aside our historic victory on the international arbitration at the expense of our fishing rights and national sovereignty,” Gonzales added.
Moreover, PAMALAKAYA warned against the militarization of the disputed region amid entry of the US Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group. It includes destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59) and guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52).
“Our call is for the peaceful and political resolution with all the people of the world denouncing imperialist China for its aggression, plunder and destruction of the marine environment, instead of a military confrontation between superpowers,” the fisherfolk leader stressed. ###