Charter change to institutionalize Chinese plunder of Philippine seas – fishers’ group

Manila, Philippines – The militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday expressed “strong opposition” against the charter change (Cha-Cha) which was already approved in the 3rd and final reading in the Congress.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the fishers’ group raised the specter of foreign fishing fleets embarking on monopoly fishing expedition inside the country’s territorial waters to exploit and poach for high-value fish and marine resources, displacing Filipino fishers from traditional fishing grounds. Moreover, the group warned, Cha-Cha would institutionalize the Chinese-plunder of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea.

“Cha-Cha would further exploit the country’s land and sea resources because it will remove the protections on our sovereignty and patrimony granted by the existing constitution. Moreover, it will allow 100 percent foreign ownership of lands and other strategic sectors in the economy including but not limited to mining, education, media, utilities, advertising, health, and other public sectors,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

“Chinese aggressors are already plundering our seas even the dangerous amendments in the constitution are not yet in place. What more if the remaining and only constitutional defense of our sovereignty would be eliminated?” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon warned.

The former solon and fisherfolk leader calls the public to be vigilant and reject any attempt of the Duterte administration to amend the constitution for further sell-out of the sovereignty to its foreign masters and moreover, to hold onto power.

“The game plan of Malacanang is to pursue Cha-Cha by all means, at all cost, and whatever it takes. It is a maneuver of the Duterte government to cling on to power and continue with its fascist and subservient policies,” Hicap ended. ###

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