Albay Protesters demand rights for small fishermen

By Reynard Magtoto

Protesters in Albay marched along Legazpi Boulevard to demand for the rights of small fishermen and condemn the recent harassment at Scarborough Shoal by the Chinese Coast Guard.

The protest action held earlier is part of the simultaneous protest actions nationwide to continue the fight for national freedom and democracy.

In observing the 120th anniversary of Independence Day, BAYAN Albay condemns the government officials who serve as puppets and slaves of foreign countries such as US and China.

Despite the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, China still regulates the movement in West Philippine Sea and practically bullies the fishermen within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

The ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration clearly states that the Philippines enjoys sovereign rights over that area and that Filipino fishermen can fish without any hindrance.

“It was unacceptable. The Chinese Coast Guard has no right to take away the catch of the Filipino fishermen. The DFA should immediately file a diplomatic protest over this incident. The perpetrators should be identified and reparations should be made to the Filipinos,” Fred Mansos of BAYAN Albay said.

Even in locality, such harassment to the fishermen also exists according to Bert Autor of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bikol (KMB).

Every municipalities provides policies and zoning ordinances that limit fishermen where to catch. With the TRAIN Law, fishermen in communities have additional burden to the expenses on oil to run their fishing boats.

“Municipal Zoning Ordinances are problematic since it controls the small fishermen while big fishing vessels can freely operate,” Autor said.

KMB received reports that most small fishermen in coastal communities are being harassed by coast guards. “When they go beyond their municipality, the coast guard of other municipality harasses them and even confiscating their fishing boats,” Autor added. (BaretangBikolnon.com)

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