Manila, Philippines — Militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) stormed the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Monday, marking the 5th anniversary of the landmark ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) favoring the Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea. PAMALAKAYA members from Zambales, Southern Tagalog and Laguna Lake, and youth activists from Zambales joined the protest.
Instead of a Philippine flag, the fishers’ group raised and planted a giant replica of PCA document’s cover page that was attached to a mock-up Jet Ski paraded towards the Chinese consulate.
PAMALAKAYA said this was to protest President Duterte’s “failed campaign promise” to ride a Jet Ski and plant a Philippine flag in Panatag Shoal (international name Scarborough Shoal) to uphold national sovereignty.
“This is neither a publicity stunt nor a bluff. These are Filipino fishers standing up against China and upholding our rights in the West Philippine Sea. Likewise, this is a defiance against President Duterte who has completely turned his back on our national sovereignty and the Filipino people. Our own government’s cowardice and submission to China will not stop us from asserting what is rightfully ours. Wala na kaming aasahan sa pala-sukong administrasyon ni Duterte, kaming mga mangingisda na ang kikilos para sa aming karapatang mangisda sa inaagaw na teritoryo ng China,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA slammed Beijing for its “unceasing plunder and destruction of marine environment and resources that adversely affect the livelihood of not less than 600, 000 Filipino fisherfolks” dependent on West Philippine Sea. Citing the data of scientist group AGHAM, the fishers’ group said that the country is losing P1.3 trillion a year due to the destruction of 16, 000 hectares of coral reefs caused by China’s reclamation and illegal poaching in the exclusive economic zone.
“As declared by the arbitral ruling, China is both guilty of plundering the marine environment through its large-scale reclamation and massive fishing activities, and interfering with the fishing rights of Filipino fishers in our exclusive economic zone,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list said during the protest.
The fishers’ group calls on the Filipinos to unite in the face of continuing Chinese aggression and military annexation of Philippine waters.
“Five years after our momentous arbitral victory, China continues to trample on our fishing rights in our traditional fishing grounds. We vow to persist in seeking the dismantling of all Chinese military structures in our waters and the withdrawal of all its military forces from these artificial islands. No matter how powerful Chinese military is, it will prove no match to the united patriotic Filipino people,” ended Hicap. ###
Fisherfolk from Zambales, Laguna Lake and Southern Tagalog provinces protested in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City, marking the 5th anniversary of the PCA ruling favoring the country.