Manila, Philippines – In a dashing show of protest, fishers united under the banner of the militant group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) kicked off a coordinated coastal protest seeking ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte whom they said as the “major stumbling block” in recovering control of the West Philippine Sea.
In time for the country’s 123rd Independence Day, fishers held coastal protests in Zambales, Rizal, and Manila Bay areas. In Zambales, the anti-China and anti-Duterte coastal protest kicked off this morning with fisherfolk leaders and activists marching along the shoreline of Botolan town chanting “China Out! Duterte Oust!” and “Atin ang Pinas! China Layas!”.
“It is unlikely that we would be able to retrieve our waters from China, not especially under the puppet regime of Mr. Duterte who keeps on kowtowing to the Asian superpower. It would be easier to diplomatically and decisively assert our sovereign rights if a President is not subservient and could stand up to foreign aggressors,” Ronnel Arambulo, a PAMALAKAYA leader said during the fluvial protest in Botolan, Zambales.
The fishers’ group asserts that Mr. Duterte’s submissive foreign policies embolden China to become more aggressive and hostile to Filipino fishers in its occupied marine territory.
“China has ever-strengthened its foothold in our territory courtesy of Duterte’s deliberate neglect to uphold our sovereign rights in the name of acquiring foreign loans, investments, and in present’s case, vaccines,” Arambulo said.
For his part, Bobby Roldan, PAMALAKAYA Vice Chair for Luzon and a fisherman in Zambales, said that his group would issue an official memorandum among its regional and provincial chapters nationwide rejecting the possible reelection bid of President Duterte, or against any Duterte running in national post in the 2022 presidential elections.
“Basically, any presidential candidate who would carry the same brand of puppetry as Mr. Duterte would be junked by our fisherfolk members across the archipelago. Only progressive candidates who renounce Duterte’s fascist and puppet regime, and uphold our territorial integrity deserve the support of the electorate in next year’s elections,” Roldan vowed.
In Manila, PAMALAKAYA also joined various progressive groups in a protest at the Chinese Consulate. The groups brought a “Jet-ski with Xi” float symbolizing President Duterte’s puppetry and his failed campaign promise to ride a jet ski to the West Philippine Sea to assert our national sovereignty. ###
Photos of Pamalakaya mass actions marking the June 12 Independence Day in Zambales, Laguna Lake, Bacoor City and in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City. With photos by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Anakpawis Party-list.