Sea of garbage failed to stop fishers from endorsing favored bets in Manila Bay

By Lollipop delos Reyes and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines- Figuratively and literally speaking, this group of militant fishermen can proudly say “ nakaligo na sila sa dagat ng basura.”

Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Valentines Day braved the murky and garbage filled waters of Manila Bay along Baywalk area in Roxas Boulevard in Manila to endorse the party list bid of Anakpawis and the senatorial outing of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Party list Rep. Liza Maza.

“This symbolizes our full blast determination to have the real representatives of the people elected in the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is a paramount electoral concern and political duty of every Filipino voter to ensure the victory of progressive party lists like Anakpawis and patriotic lawmakers like Ocampo and Maza so the people will have a fighting chance inside the elite dominated Congress,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Hicap added: “The undisputed and long running track record of Anakpawis and the two militant congressmen side by side with current situation merit their victory in the May 2010 elections.”

Hicap was joined by Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France and another staff in goading a balsa (bamboo raft) in Manila Bay filled with tarpaulins of Anakpawis, Ocampo and Maza calling the Filipino voters to elect them in the May 2010 polls.

“Today is Valentines Day. And this water based action is one way of showing our class love for Anakpawis and for the working class and hardworking folks like Satur and Liza. Our senatorial candidates are two of the most respected and well-loved people in the politics of change and meaningful reforms,” the Pamalakaya official added.

Earlier, some 5,000 victims of typhoon Ondoy in Laguna Lake and now organized under Pamalakaya, Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) and Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) proclaimed the senatorial bids of Ocampo and Maza.

Pamalakaya said victims of “state-sponsored disaster” in Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal and in the 90,000 hectare stretched Laguna Lake are 100 percent voting for progressive party lists, Ocampo and Maza.

The militant group said typhoon victims and fishing villagers in Laguna Lake have recognized efforts of progressive party lists like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela in opposing the planned demolition of communities in Lupang Arenda and other fishing and urban poor villages surrounding Laguna Lake.

Pamalakaya noted that Anakpawis and Makabayan senatorial candidates’ Ocampo and Maza had filed several resolutions against the proliferation of fish pens, the across-the-lake reclamation and road dike projects and the sell-out of lake resources to powerful business groups and private firms who want to convert the lake into an industrial and commercial hub at the expense of the lake fishers and the environment.

Pamalakaya said the relief efforts of progressive party lists which addressed the immediate needs of typhoon victims last year were also recognized by Laguna lake folks. According to Pamalakaya’s estimate, progressive party lists and the offices of Ocampo and Maza in the House of Representatives have delivered not less than 10,000 sacks of rice and other relief goods for same number of families in Laguna Lake last year.

This year, some 6,000 packs of relief goods were distributed in Lupang Arenda, while around 500 sacks of rice and relief items were handed to over 1,000 fishing families in Binangonan and Talim Island, both in Rizal late last month. #

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