A year after the ramming of F/B Gem-ver, Duterte gov’t perpetrates Chinese oppression vs. fisherfolk in the West Ph Sea – Anakpawis

A year after the ramming of F/B Gem-ver
Duterte gov’t perpetrates Chinese oppression vs. fisherfolk in the West Ph Sea – Anakpawis

Manila, Philippines – “It is the surrender policy of the Duterte regime to China on the dispute in the West Philippine Sea, that makes it a perpetrator of oppression against Filipino fisherfolk. It a sell out of national sovereignty, patrimony and fishing rights. It is futile to beg this regime to fulfill its mandate, but pressing it could only be through mounting protests,” Anakpawis Party-list former representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said in a press statement, in marking the first year anniversary of the June 9, 2019 ramming of a Chinese vessel of F/B Gem-ver in Recto Bank.

He added that the regime continues to neglect its mandate of protecting “the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens,” and executing even the Republic Act 8550 Fisheries Code that covers “all Philippine waters including other waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction, and the country’s 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.”

“Fisheries laws are actually garbage against Chinese vessels under the regime, especially the amended fisheries code, that imposes serious penalties against illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing operations. This is amid iron-hand implementation against Filipino fisherfolk,” he added.

Moreover, he stressed that the government is violating, through its neglect, the laws on national territory such as the Republic Act 9522, 3046 and 5446 on the country’s archipelagic baselines, and the Presidential Decree No. 1599 establishing the exclusive economic zone or EEZ.

He claimed that Duterte’s ultimate offense could be the breach of the constitution’s provision that “The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.”

“Obviously, Duterte surrendered the Filipinos’ right to self-determination in the West Philippine Sea, especially when it is heavily occupied by Chinese military vessels, and even destroyed the marine environment through many reclamation projects,” he slammed.

He branded the present regime as “China-Duterte regime,” as the superpower’s economic interests are upheld in the country, to the point of tolerating the undermining of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Filipino fisherfolk could be the ground zero victims of Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea, but Chinese interests in mining, infrastructure, utilities, service sector and whole economy are all threatening the welfare of all Filipinos. Worse, the Chinese underground clinics recently discovered, seriously throws the sacrifice of Filipinos to end the pandemic. We should all demand justice to victims of Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea, and hold the Duterte regime accountable for its puppetry and betrayal of the Filipino interest,” he ended. ###

Members of Anakpawis and Pamalakaya call for justice for fisherfolk victims of Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
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