Manila, Philippines – Members of the progressive fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) along with scientists’ group AGHAM Advocates for Science and Technology for the People on Friday trooped the Chinese Consulate in Makati to demand the removal of Chinese militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
The protest came exactly a week after PAMALAKAYA officially lodged a petition to the United Nations (U.N.) against the continuous Chinese occupation of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
During the protest, PAMALAKAYA Southern Tagalog coordinator Ronnel Arambulo said they presented the petitions to the consulate to remind China to adhere to the 2016 arbitration ruling invalidating the latter’s sweeping claim over the almost entire South China Sea, which includes 80% of West Philippine Sea.
“This protest is a reassertion of our rightful claim in the West Philippine Sea. It is likewise a reminder to China that Filipino fishers are ever-ready to assert and reclaim what is rightfully ours. We demand Beijing to respect the fishing rights of Filipino fishers and moreover, leave the Philippine waters and end their massive destruction of our marine resources,” Arambulo asserted during the protest action.
The fisherfolk group also backed the call for the resignation of President Rodrigo Duterte over his “failure to regain the country’s control in the West Philippine Sea.”
“It would be much easier for us to politically and diplomatically assert our marine waters if President Duterte who keeps kowtowing to Chinese aggressors is removed from power,” Arambulo added.
For his part, Anakpawis Party-list National President Ariel Casilao urged the public to support PAMALAKAYA’s petition and uphold the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Anakpawis is one with the Filipino fisherfolks in their fight for fishing rights. We also call on the Filipino patriots and champions of national sovereignty to exhaust every legal and diplomatic means to assert our sovereign rights. This includes lobbying in various inter-governmental and independent bodies to garner broad support on the Filipinos’ struggle for national sovereignty,” Casilao, a former Representative of Anakpawis Party-list in the 17th congress attested in the protest.
The petitions filed last week were calling on the UN to declare the controversial China Coast Guard Law null and void, calling for demilitarization of the South China Sea, and to look into the impacts of Chinese incursion to the livelihood of Filipino fishers and the domestic food security.
The protest was also joined by Bayan Muna Party-list former Representative Neri Colmenares and broad patriotic alliance Pilipinong Nagkakaisa Para sa Soberanya (P1NAS). ###
Photos by Fishing Rights Youth Advocates (FRYA).