This was the view expressed yesterday by the Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), a national alliance of fisherfolk.
“West Philippine Sea is part of the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS). Thus, only the Philippines has the right to explore, develop, and utilize its natural resources as stated in the National Economy and Patrimony provisions of the 1987 Constitution,” Pamalakaya said in a statement.
Pamalakaya said “we are dismayed by how President Duterte abandoned” the contested area to China.
The alliance said Pres. Duterte “has gone overboard to compromise our territory.”
“He does nothing to stop Chinese reclamation activities in West Philippine Sea that threaten marine biodiversity, he lets giant Chinese fishing vessels to exploit our marine resources and leaving less harvests for Filipino fishermen, and now he wants to open the area for unequal joint exploration,” said Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap.
Pamalakaya challenged Duterte “to turn his iron fist and authoritarian rule towards China to actively assert and defend our territory.”
It said “China’s economic aid and investment commitments to Pres. Duterte’s pet projects should not lead to total sell-out of our sovereignty and territory.”