Fishers’ group to Isko: joint venture with China is a no-no

Manila, Philippines – The activist fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Thursday reminded the incumbent Manila City Mayor and presidential aspirant Isko Moreno of the “high dangers to the national patrimony and sovereignty” of joint oil and gas exploration with China in the Philippine waters.

Mayor Moreno in one interview last week said that he was open to a joint oil exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea under a service contract.

“Allow us to cite why joint oil and gas venture with China is a very dangerous undertaking and wrong on so many legal, moral, and political aspects. We have witnessed how China deliberately disregards the international ruling and how they violate the rights of Filipino fishers in the West Philippine Sea. Given these cases, what would prevent them from respecting the service contract and letting the Philippines get its fair share from this joint venture? It is like sharing a cup of tea with a burglar who trespassed and robbed your house,” Ronnel Arambulo, PAMALAKAYA Spokesperson said in a statement.

The fishers’ group asserted that “legally allowing China to exploit our resources further abandons the 2016 arbitral ruling that recognized the Philippines as the sole claimant of the West Philippine Sea”.

“This joint venture will institutionalize and intensify the Chinese plunder of our marine resources and oil and gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea. We don’t need China or any foreign country to explore and make use of our natural resources. We have overwhelming intellectual human resources for this industry and the only stumbling block is that past and present administrations choose not to support them and de-industrialize our country,” Arambulo added.

“We want to remind Mr. Moreno that among our major criteria for the presidency is their assertion for our national sovereignty and moreover, the one who will denounce and abandon President Duterte’s subservient foreign policies that surrender our territorial waters,” ended Arambulo. ###

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