Fishers group on Palace-backed BIMP-EAGA fishery consortium: ” Across-the-nation nose bleed”

Fishers group on Palace-backed BIMP-EAGA fishery consortium: ” Across-the-nation nose bleed”

“An across-the-nation nose bleed”.

This was the initial reaction of left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang
Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) after the
Philippine government agreed with the member-countries of BIMP-EAGA( Brunei-Indonesia, Malaysia-Philippines,
East Asia Growth Area)to form a fishery consortium that would allow member countries to fish in
member-countries’ territorial waters.

“This government keeps on bleeding outrageous and mind-boggling decisions without informing, consulting discussing and debating the merits and demerits of its
executive escapades,” lamented Fernando Hicap,Pamalakaya national chair.

The fishery consortium was arrived at the Thailand during the 5th BIMP-EAGA Summit in Cha-Am, Thailand,according to Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.

Remonde said the consortium will enable the country to widen its fishing base that would include the
territorial waters of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Remonde said the Philippine tuna industry will benefit from the fishery consortium agreed by members of
BIMP-EAGA.

But the Pamalakaya leader said the BIMP-EAGA fishery consortium is just an agreement among the owners and
operators of big industrial fishing fleets among the four-member countries.

Hicap said the small fisherfolk of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines will not benefit from the
fishery consortium because their very low level of fishing technologies even prevent them from exploring
the bounty of their respective territorial waters.

“They cannot even go beyond the traditional 15-kilometer municipal waters because their fishing
technologies are very low and Jurassic, so this consortium is mainly a gentlemen’s agreement among the
big and the powerful in global fisheries, ” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Pamalakaya said the most advanced industrial fishing fleets cornering fish catch production in the high seas of East Asia are either owned by the rich nationals of that country or by foreign fishing monopolies like the United States, Japan and the
European Union engaged in fishing activities in BIMP-EAGA countries.

The BIMP-Eaga was launched in 1994 with the goal of increasing trade and investments in the region.

According to Secretary Remonde, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo encouraged the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the enhanced cooperation in the subregion.

With the establishment of the consortium, the four BIMP-Eaga countries will have a common fishing ground, Remonde said.

“This is significant for us because our Gensan tuna fishermen have a roblem because our bilateral agreement with Indonesia has expired already,”
Arroyo’s press secretary added.

A technical working group will study the details of the fisheries onsortium, Remonde said.

During the BIMP-Eaga summit, the leaders also assessed the progress achieved since the adoption of the
2006-2010 Roadmap to Development, and discussed future direction for BIMP cooperation, the Palace report
said.

The ASEAN leaders also acknowledged the steady progress in carrying out priority roadmap rojects,
the gains in transport connectivity, tourism development and trade facilitation, and initiatives to
formulate agreements to facilitate the movement of goods across borders.

The proposed nautical highway in the BIMP-Eaga will enable people in the region to travel by land from one
country to another.

The leaders also cited the potential of BIMP-Eaga to become the food basket for Asean and the rest of Asia
given its natural resources, Remonde said.#

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