CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) aired yesterday opposition to and described as “sell out” the Duterte administration’s move for a 60-40 sharing in joint explorations with China at the West Philippine Sea.
“Aside from being a flagrant contempt of national sovereignty and plunder of national patrimony, such arrangement could only lead to more Chinese ramming of Filipino fishing boats similar to that which happened to the fishermen of F/B Gem-Ver 1 in Recto Bank last June 9” Pamalakaya said in a statement.
“The 60-40 arrangement is also misleading, when China is geared to rake profi t on the operations itself, utilizing their technology, experts and laborers,” Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said in the statement.
Hicap said that such move also “runs counter to the provision of the Constitution on national patrimony which says that the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources.”
He also stressed the move counters the mandate of the State to “protect 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.”
“Only a final and published executive agreement, not a non-binding MOU could serve as framework,” he added.
He also said the 60- 40 scheme “is almost similar to the verbal agreement on entry of Chinese fishing vessels in our territory.”
“Such deal should be publicized and formalized. As it is already posited, China will have the technical jurisdiction and obviously will plunder the resources for its energy-hungry economy,” Hicap warned.
Hicap also noted that “the joint exploration deal with China is wrong on so many legal, moral, and political aspects. It abandons the 2016 ruling of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that recognized the Philippines as the sole claimant of the West Philippine Sea. Moreover, the imperialist superpower is only forging the joint deal as a precursor to total takeover of our marine territory and resources.”
“Legally allowing China to exploit our resources is synonymous with violation our right to self-determination, and right to utilize national patrimony for national development,” he also said.
“We don’t need China or any foreign country to explore and use our own natural resources. We have overwhelming intellectual human resource for this industry and the only stumbling block was that past and present regimes chose to de-industrialize our country, instead of what other countries in Southeast Asia have pursued, enabling them to protect their respective territories,” Hicap also said.