Pamalakaya leads nationally-coordinated fish strike vs Fisheries Code and Duterte’s anti-people policies
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) led a nationally-coordinated fish strike in time of the 20th anniversary of the Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic ACT 8550 on February 23.
The fisherfolk group reiterates its call to repeal the Fisheries Code which for two consecutive decades has failed to improve the miserable lives of the country’s poorest of the poor . The Fisheries Code was amended in 2015 under the Republic Act 10654 to deter the so-called “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing” (IUUF) which the government claimed as the cause of “overfishing.” But the fisherfolk group decried the amended fishing law’s repressive fishing restrictions and regulations, saying even the traditional and backward fishing methods have been categorized by the government as “illegal”, resulting to hefty fines and penalties imposed upon small fisherfolk who barely earn enough.
PAMALAKAYA also protested against President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-people policies such as the proposed Charter Change (Chacha) which will constitutionalize the sell-out of fishing waters and coastal areas to foreign businesses, and the newly-approved Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law that poses heavy burden to the municipal fisherfolk due to the skyrocketing price increase of basic commodities and oil products.
“We are two decades a slave under the Fisheries Code which only favors the greedy interest of few commercial fish firms and developers. It promulgated modernization and mechanization of the fishing industry but in reality, our fishing gears remain backward and jurassic; only 38% of registered fishers in a municipal level possess a mechanized fishing banca, while the remaining 62% still use traditional fishing methods or worse, no fishing boat at all,”
News Release: February 23, 2018
Reference: Zen Soriano, 09214571904
Peasant women slam Duterte over Fisheries Code and anti-people policies
The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) joins the nationally-coordinated fish strike today in Mendiola, Manila led by the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in commemoration of the 20th year of the Fisheries Code of 1998 or RA 8550.
“For two decades, the Fisheries Code has failed to improve the impoverished lives of fisherfolks across the country. The amended fish law or the RA 10654 has further worsened the agony of the country’s poorest sector with its repressive fishing restrictions and regulations. With its full implementation this year, small-scale municipal fishers are confronted with more penalties and additional fees and the corporate take-over and privatization of fishing waters which exacerbates their meager income,” Amihan chair Zen Soriano said.
Amihan said that the additional excise tax resulting from the implementation of TRAIN (Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion) law has flogged the fish sector with price hike of basic commodities and oil products while their fish catch could not catch up to the rising cost of production.
“Wala na ngang pang-ulam, ngayon wala pang pambili ng bigas,” Soriano lamented.
She added that the absurd solutions of the Duterte government to the rice crisis aggravate the problem of the local rice industry while the people remain hungry. The dependence on rice importation and the National Food Authority’s (NFA) failure to uphold its mandate undermines the country’s food security. With the liberalization of the rice industry, the government is waiving its responsibility to the profit-oriented private sector which would only lead to unaffordable food prices and rampant starvation in the country.