Manila, Philippines – “Just as there were Humabons who cowardly bowed to Magellan, there is now a Duterte who betrays the nation and bows to the Chinese aggressors who forcibly occupy our territorial waters. The quincentennial of the historic Battle of Mactan should not only remind us of the glorious heroism of anti-colonial tribes led by Datu Lapulapu, but it should also be emulated by many Filipinos to defend our territory against any foreign invaders in our respective patriotic ways,” this was the statement of the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) in time of the quincentennial of the “Battle of Mactan”, regarded as the first organized struggle of Filipinos led by Datu Lapulapu against foreign colonizers led by Portuguese voyager Ferdinand Magellan.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA likened President Duterte to local traitors such as Rajah Humabon and another chieftain named Zula who collaborated with Magellan to force Lapulapu to submit himself to the colonizers in 1521.
“Mr. Duterte is undeniably the present-day Humabon because of his outright kowtowing to China. Filipino fishers, on the other hand, are the valiant men of Lapulapu for braving the threat of Chinese harassment to exercise fishing rights in our traditional fishing grounds,” Pedro Gonzales, PAMALAKAYA Vice Chair emeritus said in a statement on Tuesday.
The fishers’ group slammed the defeatist stand of the Duterte administration on the continuing presence of Chinese vessels believed to be manned with militias in the Philippine waters.
“Mr. Duterte has not done anything decisive to protect our territory and resources from foreign aggressors and plunderers. He is the antithesis of the country’s heroes who gallantry fought for our national independence,” Gonzales added.
In the face of intensified Chinese aggression and lack of concrete response from the Philippine government, PAMALAKAYA calls on the Filipinos to unite and defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity against any foreign aggressors.
“It is patriotic duty of every Filipinos to fight for our national patrimony, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Our collective struggle should aim to wrest back sovereign control of the West Philippine Sea and marine resources within our exclusive economic zone, in an assertive yet diplomatic way,” ended Gonzales. ###