Monthly Archives: June 2010

Laguna Lakers slam P 200 million building project

By Pepsi Laloma, Sarsi Pimentel and Gerry Albert Corpuz

Binangonan, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday expressed disbelief on why and how the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA)pursued a P 200-million contract for a new three story building for the lake agency.

“P 200 million is P 200 million. This contract is a fast break deal and a last minute money making activity courtesy of the midnight deal department of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda, an Arroyo stooge,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Hicap learned that the LLDA’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) opened the bids last week to determine which of the contractors would get the project. The Pamalakaya leader said the winning bidder will receive the contract on June 28, two days before the inaugural of President elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino.

“Please allow us to establish the facts. The people of Laguna Lake- the 6 million stakeholders composed of small fishermen, farmers, urban poor and ordinary people were not consulted about this P 200 million escapade of the LLDA under the Arroyo-Manda regime. The construction of P 200 million building for LLDA is never a priority and all the people want is the genuine rehabilitation of the lake and assurance of fishing livelihood for small scale fishers,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the people of Laguna Lake, especially the victims of super typhoon Ondoy were demanding state subsidies and assistance in the form of economic relief and rehabilitation and the immediate repair of their homes.

“They did not ask for the construction of a P 200 million building for LLDA. So where in this part of the globe did President Arroyo and Mr. Manda get their idea that all the victims of Ondoy want is a new building for LLDA. That’s baloney,” the militant group said.

Pamalakaya dared President-elect Aquino to recall the P 200-million project of the LLDA. “Mr. Aquino will face an across-the-lake project if his administration will continue to pursue to super damnable and crazy project,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said President elect Aquino should also instruct the incoming manager of the LLDA and the incoming secretary of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to stop the project and declare the contract null and void since because the P 200-million contract is illegal, highly irregular and anomalous and against the collective interest of 6 million lake folk surrounding the lake.

The militant group said they will soon write the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate to conduct either a joint or separate congressional inquiries on the P 200-million Laguna Lake building project.

“The draft of the letter of request to have this high crime of corruption investigated is ready. We will just wait Congress to name the next of Speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate President because the letter will be addressed to the top two leaders of the legislative branch,” said Pamalakaya.

Last Feb. 23, leaders of Pamalakaya and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) submitted an Omnibus demand to LLDA Gen. Manager Manda. The set of demands include support and housing subsidies to victims of last year’s typhoon Ondoy and this year’s El Nino.

Pamalakaya and SLLM set of demands include supply of 1 rice of sack for free from March to July, P 5,000 economic and production subsidies for every fishing families and another P 5,000 for housing subsidy or house rehabilitation program per affected fishing family. #

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2 new books on outgoing RP President ridiculed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Joyce Cabral and Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap

MANILA, Philippines- Rabid critics of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dismissed as garbage the two books written for her by two of her closest allies in Malacanang. The books narrate how the scandal rocked Arroyo handled the different crises that hounded her administration and the good jobs accomplished during her nine-year stay in power but skipped two of the most controversial issues—the NBN-ZTE scandal and the Hello Garci election scandal in 2005.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the books entitled “Beating the Odds” penned by Secretary Ricardo Saludo and Renato Velasco, a UP political science professor and current board member of Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and “Beat The Odd” authored by deputy Press Secretary Gary Olivar are nothing but a compilation of lies and should be regarded by the Filipino public and book lovers as stinking garbage.

“The high crimes of corruption, the extreme brutality and the first-rate puppetry of President Arroyo to Washington D.C is an open secret to 94 million Filipinos and all these lies peddled by Arroyo associates in their books will not score a giant kill at the political box-office,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.

Secretary Saludo told reporters the books are all about governance which students and academicians could use as reference material. He said the books would be helpful to people in the academe and government. He said the two books which will be released anytime before June 30 were not an attempt to put the President in good light.

“Beating The Odds” authored by Saludo and Velasco tackles the July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the threat posed by the SARS virus, terrorism and illegal drug trade, as well as the budget deficit—and President responded to these challenges and passed the tests with flying colors. A newspaper ad on Thursday described the book as a “crisis-management bible for the 21st century.

“Let Arroyo and her gang fool themselves on periodic and perpetual manner. No one will believe these books are product of intellectual honesty,” Pamalakaya’s France added.

However, Pamalakaya suggested Mrs. Arroyo to write her own book detailing her sins and crimes to the Filipino people. The militant group even suggested a title for the book. “How about a book written by Mrs. Arroyo herself aptly titled “The Day I Robbed Your Glory”, I Am Sorry or “The Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Scandal” which will have Arroyo confessing her sins and top notch crimes to the Filipino people that include but not limited to NBN-ZTE scandal, Hello Garci and the bloody series of extrajudicial killings from 2001 to 2010.

“I guess the “I Am Sorry” is the more appropriate title for her book and this is a potential blockbuster that could rival the best-selling novel of all time,” Pamalakaya added.

Saludo said he and Velasco only “selected” the crises that happened between 2001 and 2004. “These were the topics that we felt we could handle,” they explained.

Saludo said he and Velasco felt the wiretapping scandal should not be lumped together with the other crises because it required a “more extensive treatment.”

The other book Beat The Odds,” is more about Ms Arroyo’s accomplishments and written by Olivar whose title is based on the acronym Ms Arroyo coined when she assumed power in 2001 to summarize her 10-point agenda. With a report from Trinity Biglang Awa.

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RP senators asked to stop Aquino sister

By Handog Malaya Vera, Manila Legarda and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday urged the 23 senators comprising the incoming Senate to stop presidential sister and popular TV host actress Kris-Aquino Yap from intervening in the affairs of the Senate.

According to news report, Ms Aquino had allegedly called several senators to back Sen. Francis Pangilinan in his bid to become the next Senate President.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said senators should tell Ms Aquino that the latter has no business in the affairs of the Senate and the 23 senators should stop her lobbying offensive in favor of Senator Francis Pangilinan, a staunch ally of his brother- President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“Who is Ms Kris Aquino-Yap to tell and dictate the 23 senators that her brother President Aquino wants Senator Pangilinan to be next Senate President? Why not let her brother president do his job? We hope the Senate will rise above the occasion and completely reject this brazen and blatant political arrogance of Ms. Aquino,” Hicap said.

“If Pangilinan wins the Senate Presidency because of Ms Aquino’s aggressive lobbying stint, and not because of merits and good track record, then there is really something wrong with the majority of Senators who will vote for Pangilinan,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader found active lobbying of Ms Aquino-Yap for Sen. Pangilinan extremely offensive and grossly insulting not only to the collective wisdom of the 23 senators but also to the collective intelligence and political sentiment of 94 million Filipinos.

“If President Aquino wants Pangilinan to be the next Senate President then by all means he should come out in the open, declare his support to Pangilinan and rally his allies in the Senate to vote for Pangilinan. At this point, Aquino is already showing that he is a future lame duck President by allowing his sister to do the job for him,” added Hicap.

Hicap said the active involvement of Ms Aquino in choosing the next Senate President and members of the Aquino cabinet suggests that Kamag-Anak Inc. really exists and politically active. “Kris is an epitome of what do we mean by Kamag-Anak Inc.,” he stressed.

Pamalakaya clarified it has nothing against Sen. Pangilinan as lawmaker, although the group noted that for a while, the Senator had been a close ally of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and was instrumental in rejecting all election protest during the congressional canvassing of the 2004 presidential elections.

But Pamalakaya said Pangilinan bounced back when he called for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo in 2005 at the height of Hello Garci cheating scandal in 2005 and supported the broad anti-Arroyo movement since then. The group said it also recognized the advocacy of Pangilinan against extrajudicial killings and his stand to have the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) reviewed or repealed.

Sources said Ms Aquino’s endorsement of Pangilinan made headway for the latter in the race for Senate President. Sen. Pangilinan reportedly has the support of Liberal Party and non-Liberal Party senators composed of senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Francis Escudero, Sergio Osmena III, Vicente Sotto III, Teofisto Guingona III, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes IV. #

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Outrage sparked anew over killing of another RP media

By Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines- Members of the Philippine media are again outraged with the murder of Nestor Bedolido of the weekly Kastigador in Digos City, Davao del Sur, on Saturday night. Bedolido, according to the media alert dispatched by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) was the 140th journalist killed since 1986. Since 2001 or under the nine-year rule of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration there were 103 Philippine journalists and media workers killed.

In a statement sent to media a copy of which was emailed to http://www.allvoices.com,, the NUJP said “it would be convenient to attribute this week’s murders to a killing frenzy by the enemies of press freedom before this unlamented government steps down.But it is more likely they really cannot care less which administration is in place”.

The NUJP added: “Not with the apathy and official inaction administration after administration – the outgoing one admittedly more than any other – has shown towards attempts to silence one of the cornerstones of democracy, a free press”.

It futher said: “The outgoing administration has, again, excelled at – that nurtures warlords and sundry crooks, allowing them to amass power and pervert public service into personal privilege, in exchange for political favors, like stolen votes”.

The NUJP said Bedolido’s murder followed that of Ilocos Norte’s Jovelito Agustin of dzJC Aksyon Radyo in Laoag City, who was ambushed on his way home Wednesday and died while being treated at a hospital, and Davao Oriental’s Desiderio Camangyan of Mati-based Sunshine FM, killed with a single shot to the head as he sat onstage while emceeing a village singing contest in Manay town.

Bedolido, in his late 40s, was buying cigarettes on the corner of Rizal and Quezon Avenues when he was shot six times by a lone gunman who then “casually walked to a waiting motorcycle driven by another unidentified man.”

The victim was rushed by bystanders to the nearby Gonzales Hospital but died before he could receive treatment.The Philippine Daily Inquirer which ran a story on the killing of Mindanao based journalist, the victim was known to be critical of a prominent politician in Davao del Sur and was suspected of authoring a series of exposés against the official. “It is clear that government’s failure or, and we suspect this is more accurate, refusal to hold accountable those responsible for the killings – especially the masterminds – makes it equally guilty, an accomplice to the bloodbath that has made a mockery of all our claims to being a democracy,” the NUJP said.

The NUJP challenged President elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to put an end to the killings of journalists and resolve previous cases of politically motivated murder of their peers.

The Philippine media group said the search for truth and justice for murdered journalists in the country will be a litmus test of how seriously Benigno Aquino III considers his promise of good governance. So will his resolve to hold accountable his predecessor not only for the corruption that marked her nine years in office, but also for the massive loss of lives for which, she too, should be made responsible for.
The NUJP said these media killings are matter of state accountability asserting these human rights violations were committed under the administration of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.The group said the business of ensuring justice for all victims weighs just as heavy on Aquino as head of state as it should on all thosewhose sworn duty it is to protect and ensure the life and welfare of all citizens but which, sadly, they still have to do so.
Earlier, international journalist groups have urged Aquino to resolve with dispatch the continuous killing of journalists all over the archipelago.

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President elect Aquino asked to stop power rate hikes

By Bombshell Moran, Trinity Biglang Awa and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines- Calling it the biggest robbery in broad daylight of year 2010, an official of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Monday President elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to reject the proposal of state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) to hike its’ rates two times tis year.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France dismissed the proposals for two time big time power rate increases as the biggest robbery in broad daylight in the post President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“Mr. Aquino should immediately order the Energy Regulatory Commission to reject these unmindful and berserk proposals of Napocor. He can send the marching order right after his inauguration as 15th President of the Republic,” said France.

Napocor is seeking a 62.51 centavos increase per kilowatt-hour in Luzon, 9.73 centavos per kwh in the Visayas and 11.22 centavos per kwh in Mindanao under the 16th installment of the Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism or GRAM.

The government owned power utility group is also asking the ERC to approve the 63.61 centavos per kwh increase in Luzon, 7.04 centavos per kwh increase in the Visayas and 3.99 centavos per Kwh increase in Mindanao this time under the 15th installment of Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment or ICERA.

“These electriying proposals of Napocor are worthy of consumer revolt and across-the-nation outrage. All the officials of Napocor should immediately resign from their posts and be ready to be confronted by the angry public and exploited consumers face to face,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

France said one Aquino’s first order of business include the nullification of Napocor proposals for power rate increases. The Pamalakaya official added that President elect Aquino should instead form an investigating body that would open the books of Napocor and scrutinize the operations of the state-owned power utility in the last nine years from 2001 to 2010.

“Napocor is losing money because of left-and-right and unbridled bureaucratic corruption in the 9 years of the Arroyo administration. Napocor is losing money because of the deregulation policy of the govenrment since the deregulation regime of former President Fidel Ramos up to Ms. Arroyo. Therefore, Mr. Aquino has no option but stop this money making adventure of Napocor and kill the three-in-one deregulation, privatization and liberalization policy that made Napocor into monster ,” said Pamalakaya. @

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Manila’s high court orders review of Luisita case

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Queen Shawn Dok and Lady Michelle Adobe

MANILA, Philippines-Striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita and close allies in and out of the 6,453 hectare sugar estate owned by the family of the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino welcomed on Monday the order of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona to have the agrarian row reviewed by the high tribunal.

“The order for review is a welcome news that’s why we are welcoming it. We hope this won’t be the beginning of another false start. We hope this is the beginning of an end to a sugar coated reign and long-running feudal exploitation inside Hacienda Luisita,” the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa Sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Amihan peasant women federation and the left leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a joint statement in reaction to Chief Justice recent order for a review on the Hacienda Luisita land row case.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the review should end on a positive note with the lifting of temporary restraining order and the high tribunal would decide for an urgent and unconditional free distribution of lands to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

“Chief Justice Corona is lawfully, politically and morally obliged to lead the other 14 justices to decide the Hacienda Luisita case in favor of farm workers and their striving and starving families. Social justice should not be compromise for any kind of political accommodation and elite oriented political reconciliation. I guess this is clear with Corona and the 14 associate justices,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos for his part said it is still a long way to go even if Chief Justice Corona has issued the order. For a fresh start of the Corona led Supreme Court, the peasant leader asked Corona and other justices to put Hacienda Luisita ahead of other unfinished businesses the high court will accomplish this year.

“The case of Hacienda Luisita is the most controversial and the most politically charged case among the cases being reviewed by the high tribunal for judicial disposition. This should be prioritized and should be decided in the name of the collective interest of farm workers in particular and the Filipino public in general,” Ramos added.

Earlier Pamalakaya told the Supreme Court that the 10,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries inside the 6,453-hectare sugar estate owned by the family of President elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino were not asking for preferential treatment from the Supreme Court as far as the farm workers legal battle in the high tribunal is concerned.

“Please allow us to correct the Chief Justice, the 14 other justices and the spokesperson of the Supreme Court. The farm workers of Hacienda Luisita are not asking for preferential treatment. What they are asking is social justice based on free distribution of lands which was denied to them for several decades by the feudal aristocracy of Cojuangco-Aquino and their partners in crime in previous administrations,” said Pamalakaya.

The Pamalakaya fisherfolk group is one of the signatories to a letter of appeal sent to Chief Justice Renato Corona last week urging the high tribunal to resolve the Hacienda Luisita land case, as well as other high profile land cases including but not limited to the 7,100 hectare Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City, Laguna and the 8,650 hectare Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas.

In 2005, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman revoked the SDO scheme due to complaints by members of the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA) that it has become disadvantageous for the farmers.

In order to avoid the property from being placed under the land distribution scheme under CARP, the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) immediately filed a petition before the high tribunal in February 2006 seeking the nullification of the order recalling the SDO agreement between the hacienda owners and 5,498 farmers.

On June 10 farm workers from Hacienda Luisita by UMA and KMP including other supporters and advocates submitted a letter of appeal asking the Supreme Court to act with dispatch and resolve the controversial agrarian case of Hacienda Luisita in favor of agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“Honorable Chief Justice, the Supreme Court ruling favored the sugar barons of Hacienda Luisita and the landed aristocracy of Cojuangco-Aquino. It is in the highest interest of the Filipino people and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita to end this long-running feudal reign and exploitation with the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries,” the three page letter of appeal stated.

The high court was also asked to look into high profile cases of land reform reversals and big time denials of peasant land rights in Southern Tagalog region.

The farmer groups were referring to the case of farmers in Hacienda Looc involving 8,650 hectare of prime agricultural lands, which was previously placed under land reform program but was reversed by the Department of Agrarian Reform to pave way for real estate projects of Manila South Coast Development Corporation, a sister company of SM Holdings Inc. and Fil-Estate Realty Corporation, and the 7,100 hectare property in Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City, Laguna.

The groups maintained these land reform reversal will lead to the evictions of thousands of families in farming families in Nasugbu, Batangas and Calamba, Laguna and their wholesale displacement from their farmlands and principal source of living.

“Such land reform reversal policy of the state exempting commercial farms and expanding with coverage for exemptions that now include coconut lands has become a long running nightmare for millions of landless farmers and still land seeking farmer beneficiaries across the country”, the groups said. #

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Suspension of Manila fisheries law proposed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Rey Manangan and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines-Some 50 fisherfolk leaders and environmental activists today urged President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy Aquino III to indefinitely suspend the implementation of the Fisheries Code of 1998 otherwise known as Republic Act No. 8550 for the law’s failure to protect the livelihood and marine environment all over the country.

At the launching of the first National Fisherfolk Conference on Fisheries Code of 1998 and Marine Resources held at the conference room of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) in Quezon City , leaders of the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) from the provinces of La Union, Rizal, Batangas, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate in Luzon, Samar and Leyte in Eastern Visayas, Cebu and Iloilo in the Visayas and Sarangani in Mindanao and environmental experts from Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC-Philippines), Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center (Fidec) and Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment said President Aquino can suspend RA 8550 by issuing an executive order.

“We strongly urge President Aquino to call on Congress to stop the implementation of RA 8550 and task both Houses of chambers to undertake impact assessment and performance evaluation of the 12-year old fisheries law. The reports from the grassroots concerning the impact of the law on small fisherfolk is highly alarming and life threatening,” conference organizersFernando Hicap of Pamalakaya and CEC-Philippines executive director Ces Quimpo said in a joint statement.

Based on the preliminary assessment conducted by Pamalakaya and CEC-Philippines, the 12-year old was a comprehensive failure, asserting further that RA 8550 failed to meet its objectives in uplifting the lives of small fishermen, promote food security for 94 million Filipinos and protect the environment from internal and external factors.

Pamalakaya, CEC-Philippines, Kalikasan-PNE and Fidec raised the following conclusions why Fisheries Code failed to provide meaningful reforms in local fisheries and should be repealed if not indefinitely suspended while Congress is studying what to do either to amend the law or have it replaced with a progressive fisheries law.

1. RA 8550 failed to raise the standard of living among fisherfolk. Before the law was enacted average fish harvest and average fish income prior to the enactment of RA 8550 was 10-15 kilos per day and about P 200- P 300 per day. Under the fish code regime, average catch and income dropped to 3kilos -5 kilos per day or P 50-P 75 per day.

2. The 12-year old law fisheries law led to massive privatization of communal fishing grounds. The national government and local government units to transact business with private groups to establish hectares of beach resorts, fish pens and fish cages biased to finance and export capital at the expense of Filipino fisherfolk, the local environment and national patrimony.

3. The law is extremely biased to big business. Commercial fishing vessels are allowed to enter even in the 15-kilometer municipal fishing waters which are reserved to small fishermen. Large scale aquaculture activities are also set up in the 15-km municipal fishing waters further delimiting access of small fisherfolk to the marine resources reserved to them within the municipal fishing water territories.

4. The proliferation of fish sanctuaries all over the country was not meant for marine environmental protection and resource regeneration but for profit motivated activities like eco-tourism. Fish sanctuaries have become synonymous with tourism and water-based rest and recreation activities.

5. The Fisheries Code of 1998 further reduced the scope and coverage of fishing activities among small fisherfolk. Ordinances such as zoning ordinance and color coding prevent fisherfolk from exercising their communal rights to the country’s archipelagic waters

6. RA 8550 is not a fisherfolk empowerment piece of legislation. It is actually a money making scheme. Since 1998, fisherfolk caught for minor offenses in violations of the 12-year fisheries law are fined with exorbitant fees ranging from P 1,500 to a high of P 60,000 per offense, while big players in the industry which committed high crimes in fisheries managed to escape by bribing officials and law enforcers all over the country.

Pamalakaya also noted that the Fisheries code of 1998 also failed to uphold the country’s national sovereignty and patrimony. The militant group said the fisheries law was never ranged nor cited in the country’s negotiations of various government treaties entered by the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Pamalakaya said RA 8550 was never referred during the Arroyo government’s negotiations on the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) and the recently concluded RP-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), where a number of provisions have something to do with production and mobilization of fishery resources.

The militant group also said RA 8550 was never treated as reference in allowing foreign companies to conduct offshore mining activities in the country referring to the oil and gas hunts in Tanon Strait in Cebu and Bohol, in Cebu-Bohol Strait, in Palawan and Spratly areas and recently ExxonMobil’s one hundred million offshore stunt in Sulu Sea.

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