Farmers to Marcos Jr: Bare details and conditionalities of Chinese agri-fisheries deals

PH food self-sufficiency at risk with ‘cooperation’



Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) demands that Malacanang divulge the full details of the P22.8-billion investment pledges snagged by President and agriculture secretary Marcos Jr during his 3-day state visit to China. Based on a joint statement signed in Beijing, the PH and China sides committed to conduct cooperation in the four key priority areas of agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and people-to-people exchanges, and pursue additional avenues of cooperation in the areas of defense and security, science and technology, trade and investments.  

Out of the 14 deals, the following focuses on agriculture and fisheries and the economy:

1. Joint action plan for 2023-2025 on agricultural and fisheries cooperation between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
2. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
3. Handover certificate of the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology-Technological Cooperation Phase III (PHILSCAT-TCP III)
4. Protocol of phytosanitary requirements for the export of fresh durians from the Philippines to China between the DA and China’s General Administration of Customs
5. MOU between the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and China’s International Development Cooperation Agency on the Development Cooperation Plan 2023-2025
6. Agreement on economic and technical cooperation between China and the Philippines
7. Mutual recognition agreement between the General Administration of Customs of China and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of the Philippines on the authorized economic operator program

“We want to know the full details and conditionalities of the short-term agricultural and fisheries cooperation between the Department of DA and China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. This deal poses a further threat to our efforts in achieving food security and food sufficiency. Extending the cooperation with China on agri and fisheries is ill-timed especially at this period of worsening agricultural crisis and food inflation,” according to KMP chairperson emeritus Rafael Mariano. “Will this agri and fisheries cooperation will help lower food prices and temper the record-high food inflation? At the onset, this deal will only double PH’s agri exports to China, particularly bananas, coconut, and other high-value crops,” the peasant leader and former DAR secretary said.

Ramos further said Marcos Jr.’s compromise with China’s Xi on the plight of Filipino fisherfolks is like abandoning all legal and political claims on the West Philippine Sea. Why compromise, when all China needs to do, is to abide by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea that recognizes the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ)? Fisher’s group PAMALAKAYA earlier cited that fishermen in Zambales province have been losing about 70% of their income per fishing trip due to the aggressive presence of Chinese forces in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough).

Road to RCEP

KMP further said the cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) supports the country’s eventual participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). KMP is a signatory of a broad joint statement urging Marcos Jr. to stand firm on his commitment to protect and support farmers and fishers in connection with the Philippines’ proposed membership in the RCEP trade agreement. The groups asserted that entry into any trade or economic deal must be based on equality, reciprocity, mutual benefit, and national interest. ###

*Full List of Bilateral deals with China

1. Joint action plan for 2023-2025 on agricultural and fisheries cooperation between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
2. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
3. Handover certificate of the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology-Technological Cooperation Phase III (PHILSCAT-TCP III)
4. MOU between the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China and the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on digital and information and communications technology (ICT) cooperation
5. Protocol of phytosanitary requirements for the export of fresh durians from the Philippines to China between the DA and China’s General Administration of Customs
6. Handover certificate of two China-aid bridge projects in Manila, the Binondo-Intramuros bridge and the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge
7. Framework agreement for the Renminbi-portion of the loan financing for three priority projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
8. Four loan agreements for the mixed-credit financing (US Dollar and Renminbi) of three priority bridge projects under the public works department
9. Implementation of the MOU on tourism between the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China
10. MOU between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Ministry of Commerce of China on electronic commerce cooperation
11. MOU between the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and China’s International Development Cooperation Agency on the Development Cooperation Plan 2023-2025
12. Agreement on economic and technical cooperation between China and the Philippines
13. Mutual recognition agreement between the General Administration of Customs of China and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of the Philippines on the authorized economic operator program
14. Arrangement for the establishment of a communication mechanism on maritime issues between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s