Tag Archives: Secretary Arthur Yap

Fisherfolk activists to Secretary Yap: “What fish shortage?”

Pamalakaya slammed P 25-million bailout to big fishpen operators
Fisherfolk activists to Secretary Yap: “What fish shortage?”

The national chairperson of the left-wing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday questioned the statement of agriculture secretary Arthur Yap that folks of Metro Manila will face fish shortage unless the government do something to avert it.

“What fish shortage this senatorial wannabe is talking about? He is justifying the release of P 25-million in taxpayers money to be able to bailout Northern Luzon based big fishpen operators,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Yap over the weekend said the P 25-million support fund for the rehabilitation of wrecked fish cages in Pangasinan and La Union should be released soon because any delay in rehabilitating the fish cages could affect fish supply and fish prices in Metro Manila.

“That’s mind boggling and absurd. There’s enough supply of fish in the National Capital Region despite typhoon Emong which recently hit the country. He is just buying the political patronage of large-scale fishpen operators in the North. This Northern offensive is part of image building in connection with Yap’s plan to join the senatorial race in 2010,” said Hicap.

The agriculture department said fishpen operators in Pangasinan and La Union incurred losses estimated at around P 500 million or 6,000 metric tons which represent 3.7 percent of the regional annual production budget of fish stocks for 2009. It said Pangasinan and La Union accounts for 120 metric tons of bangus supply to Metro Manila.

“Secretary Yap is only after the welfare of big fishpen operators. For him the small fishermen are nothing and they don’t deserve the attention of this elitist agriculture official. Let us see where he will see himself in the 2010 national elections,” the Pamalakaya leader warned.

Last week, Pamalakaya pressed the Macapagal-Arroyo government to set aside at least P 20-billion for the victims of typhoon “Emong” and for the quick rehabilitation of agricultural lands, infrastructures and power lines destroyed at the height of the strong typhoon that hit the country, mostly several provinces in Central and Northern Luzon.

Pamalakaya vice-chair for Luzon Salvador France said they proposed a minimum of P 10,000 and a maximum of P 20,000 production subsidy per fishing and farming family in areas hardly affected by typhoon Emong namely Pangasinan, La Union, Nueva Viscaya, Bataan, Zambales, Ifugao, Isabela, Cagayan, and Benguet.

“This will help farmers and fisherfolk to resume the wheel of agricultural and fishery production made idle by typhoon Emong. The granting of subsidy could last for one to two months or even several months depending on the time and resources needed to accomplish the relief and rehabilitation process. And to the national and local government units and agencies—please don’t use the occasion for corruption and all-out pocketing of taxpayers money,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Under Pamalakaya’s proposal the small fisherfolk in the province of Pangasinan will get at least P 4 billion from the P 20-billion relief and rehabilitation fund, while La Union, Nueva Viscaya, Bataan, Zambales, Ifugao, Isabela, Cagayan and Benguet will get P 2 billion each.

France suggested that the funds for victims of typhoon Emong should be closely monitored by anti-corruption watchdogs and independent groups including the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to make sure all government units will implement the relief and rehabilitation undertakings without any shade of corruption and politicking.

The Pamalakaya leader said their members in Bataan, Zambales, Pangasinan and La Union were affected by typhoon Emong and will undertake campaign that will require the regional offices and provincial of the Department of Agriculture, including provincial and municipal governments to provide quick production subsidy assistance for victims of typhoon Emong.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) reported last week the death toll from typhoon Emong rose to 33 after seven more fatalities were reported in the provinces of Pangasinan and Ifugao.

The NDCC also said Emong destroyed close to P 380 million worth of crops, infrastructure and power lines, P 371 million of this represent destroyed crops and agricultural fields. But in Pangasinan, Anda Mayor Nestor Pulido said in his town, fishery losses could reach P 1 billion accounting for hundreds of fishpens and fish cages swept away at the height of typhoon Emong. #

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Pamalakaya demands P 32-billion production subsidy

Pamalakaya demands P 32-billion production subsidy

Manila, Philippines- Members of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list on Monday fried two kilos of assorted fish at the Department of Agriculture (DA) as a symbolic gesture of presenting their demand for P 32-billion yearly production subsidy to caution the impact of global economic and financial crisis.

“This fighting demand of the small fisherfolk for monthly production subsidy to arrest the uncontrollable hikes in the prices of petroleum products was submitted to the office Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on July 2008. But nobody in this government wants to listen and our position paper was reduced into a scratch paper,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the main purpose of the P 32-billion production subsidy is to keep the wheel of production in the fisheries sector moving, because it is currently battered by high prices of oil products and skyrocketing prices of fishing gears and equipments.

Under the annual P 32-billion production subsidy for the fisheries sector proposed by Pamalakaya, all fishermen who own a small motorized banca will receive a minimum P 4,500 monthly oil subsidy, while those who operate non-motorized banca will receive P 2,000 monthly production subsidy.

According to Hicap, the P 4,500 monthly subsidy constitutes about 50 percent of the monthly expenses spent by fishermen owning a small fishing boat in their daily fish capture. The Pamalakaya leader said the proposed measure if approved will benefit 313,985 small fishing boat operators and will cost the government a monthly production subsidy of P 1.4 billion per month or P 16 billion per year.

Pamalakaya’s proposal for production subsidy for 630,000 non-motorized fishing boats operators across the country, will cost the national government some of P1.3 billion per month or roughly P 15.67 billion per year. All in all, the total subsidy for a little over small fishermen will cost he government some P 32 billion in total production subsidies annually.

For her part, Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente said 100 percent of the production subsidy for fisherfolk operators of small fishing boats will go to oil, while around 50 percent of the proposed subsidy for owners of non-motorized fishing boats will go to gas subsidy, while the rest will go to other production and food needs of small fishermen.

Clemente said the production subsidies for small fishermen could be addressed by immediately and indefinitely suspending the annual payments of foreign and domestic debts that eats up more than one-third of the annual national budget.

“The proposed fishery production subsidy program is about 10 percent of the national government’s allotment to debt servicing. It would be better if we suspend if not totally stop paying these fraudulent loans acquired and accumulated by the previous and present administrations for their own corruption purposes,” the Anakpawis official added.

Clemente also said the national government should also oblige commercial and aquaculture operators to give their fish workers the mandated minimum wage and certify as urgent the pending bill in both houses of Congress granting private workers a P 125 across the board, across the country wage increase.

To improve the purchasing power of the Filipino fishermen, the workers and the poor, both groups said the government should scrap the 12 percent expanded Value Added Tax on all petroleum products, consumer good, utilities and services.

“These are doable items and sound economic measures to ease the burden and cushion the impact of global economic and financial crisis. But this government is not listening to the concrete and legitimate demands of the people,” Anakpawis asserted.

Pamalakaya likewise dismissed the 700 jobs being offered by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Eastern Visayas to displaced fishermen as “pittance and highly trivial”.

“The small fisherfolk in Eastern Visayas are not begging for alms nor asking for some kind of charitable escapade from the national and local governments. They are asking for decent, sustaining and life-supporting production activities not pittance and super roadshow charity work from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, “ lamented Pamalakaya.

The fisherfolk group was referring to the P 4-million livelihood and emergency employment assistance fund released by DOLE-Region 8, which Forter Pugon, regional director of the employment department said would benefit about 700 marginal fishermen and displaced workers in the region.

Of the P 4-million, P 1.468 million was alloted by the DOLE Region 8 to employment generation projects billed as Integrated Services for Livelihood of the Fisherfolk (ISLA) and the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD), which are currently being implemented in Lapinig town in Northern Samar.

Under the ISLA project of the labor department, the beneficiaries would undertake a small-scale fishing project in Lapinig town, using fish cage and other fishing methods. The project for small fisherfolk will also include enhancement trainings to prepare fisherfolk for another employment once the project is completed by concerned local government units. #

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Fish ban due to Balikatan in Bicol now in effect— Pamalakaya reports

Fish ban due to Balikatan in Bicol now in effect— Pamalakaya reports

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday said a Balikatan-induced fish ban in the form of curfew in three coastal towns— Tiwi, Tabaco and Malilipot, all in Albay province are now in progress affecting the fish capture activities of not less than 10,000 small fisherfolk.

The Balikatan-engineered fish ban in aid of curfew was the subject of this morning’s protest at the Department of Agriculture (DA), where fisherfolk activists denounced the fish ban. They asked Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to recall fish ban and add his voice to the mounting opposition against the series of RP-US joint military exercises scheduled in Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur this April.

Around 15 activists from Pamalakaya, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Amihan peasant women federation and the student group Nnara-Youth roasted a huge “tambakol” fish at the main entrance gate of agriculture department in Quezon City. Pamalakaya said “tambakol is one of the fish species, small fisherfolk used to catch in the fishing waters of the region.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap also challenged Secretary Yap to call for the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and reject the proposal of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reform (BFAR) Region V officer in charge Celso del Soccoro to implement a Bicol-wide fish ban once the Balikatan exercises go on full blast this April.

“The curfew ordinance in Tiwi, Tabaco and Malilipot is being effectively utilized to effect a fish ban during the Balikatan exercises. The three coastal areas in Albay are being used as pilot areas for the Bicol wide fish ban in the name of the RP-US Balikatan exercises and the VFA,” added Hicap.

According to Pamalakaya vice-chair for Luzon Salvador France, the local government units and barangay officials have started implementing 9-hour fish curfew and fish ban from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am since February 23.

“Fishermen usually go to the sea for fishing from 8:00 in the evening and they will go back home in the morning of next day. That’s the normal practice. Now because there’s an ongoing curfew that subjects all people from all age groups, the fisherfolk are effectively banned from fishing. We don’t usually fish from 5:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening, which is the time table now set for all fishing activities in Tiwi, Tabacco and Malilipot,” said France.

France said the implementation of curfew in three coastal towns of Albay confirmed previous report that the DA and BFAR will impose a six-month fish ban in Bicol region beginning April in connection with Balikatan exercises.

“We ask Secretary Arthur Yap to clarify this matter. The fish ban is tantamount to massacre of Bicolano fisher people rights and livelihood. This not only illegal, unconstitutional and immoral, but also super diabolical and all-out evil and puppetry. The VFA should be abrogated in order to stop the mass production of mayhem to the people,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group said if fish ban is totally effected all over the Bicol region, it will affect the livelihood of more than 100,000 small fishermen in the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate connecting the rich the fishing grounds of Albay Gulf, Ragay Gulf and Sorsogon Bay.

The US war ships are expected to carry some 3,000 regular US troops and personnel who will participate in the six-month joint military training.

Pamalakaya told Secretary Yap the six-month RP-US joint military exercises will affect the coastal municipalities and cities of Tiwi, Malilipot, Malinaw, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Manito, Rapu-Rapu, Legaspi City and Tabaco City in Albay province, and Prieto Diaz, Bacon, Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Matnog, Casiguran, Bulan, Joban, Donsol, Pilar Magallanes, Castilla and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon province, and nearby coastal municipalities in Masbate province.

“We challenge Secretary Yap to rise above the occasion and add his voice against the Balikatan exercises in Bicol. The RP-US military exercises cannot and will never be a good substitute to the livelihood of the fisherfolk and the fish security of the people,” the group said.

“There’s no recourse for us but to face and fight this anti-fisherfolk Balikatan exercises in the sea, in the parliament of the street and in the court of public opinion. Over a hundred thousand fishermen will lose their livelihood to this crazy and shameful military stint known as Balikatan exercises. We will not allow this puppet government to sacrifice our rights and livelihood to please their Washington-based military puppeteer,” Pamalakaya said.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is expected to mobilize thousands of government troops and impose its intimidating presence in fishing communities to provide blanket security to US troops participating in the joint military exercises,” the group said.

Pamalakaya also said the RP-US Balikatan exercises were not only meant to gain future access to guerilla fronts maintained by the CPP and the NPA. The group said the joint military training exercises will also cover intelligence and military operations against militant groups in the region which the AFP and the US State Department labeled as front organizations of the CPP in the Bicol region.

“The sinister agenda of Balikatan exercises include intelligence work on various people’s organizations, their leaders and mass members highly critical of US military and economic interests in the Philippines, and very vocal against the reactionary troops and ruling puppet regime in Malacañang. This is Vietnam War in the making,” the group added. #

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Fishers group demands P 32- billion production subsidies to cushion impact of global economic crisis

Fishers group demands P 32- billion production subsidies to cushion impact of global economic crisis

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday pressed their demand for a P 32- billion production subsidies for small fishermen to cushion the impact of global economic crisis.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap suggested a minimum P 4,500 oil subsidy for all small fishermen operating small fishing boats and P 2,000 for non-motorized small fishing boat owners across-the-country.

The P 4,500 monthly subsidy constitutes about 50 percent of the monthly expenses spent by marginalized fishermen owning a small fishing boat in their daily fish capture. Hicap said the proposed measure if approved will benefit 313,985 small fishing boat operators and will cost the government a monthly production subsidy of P 1.4 billion per month or P 16 billion per year.

“We submitted the same production subsidy proposal to the Department of Agriculture at the height of the oil price increases last year. But Secretary Arthur Yap ignored our demand and dismissed our petition letter like one of those scratch of papers inside his office,” said Hicap.

Based on Pamalakaya’s proposal for production subsidy, for non-motorized fishing boats operators, the government will spend monthly subsidy of P1.3 billion or roughly P 15.67 billion per year. All in all, the total subsidy for a little over small fishermen will cost he government some P 32 billion in total production subsidies annually.

The Pamalakaya leader said 100 percent of the production subsidy for fisherfolk operators of small fishing boats will go to oil, while around 50 percent of the proposed subsidy for owners of non-motorized fishing boats will go to gas subsidy, while the rest will go to other production and food needs of small fishermen.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap said the production subsidies for small fishermen could be addressed by immediately and indefinitely suspending the annual payments of foreign and domestic debts that eats up more than P 300 billion of the annual national budget.

“The proposed fishery production subsidy program is about 10 percent of the national government’s allotment to debt servicing. It would be better if we suspend if not totally stop paying these fraudulent loans acquired and accumulated by the previous and present administrations for their own corruption purposes,” he added.

Pamalakaya said the national government should also oblige commercial and aquaculture operators to give their fish workers the mandated minimum wage and certify as urgent the pending bill in both houses of Congress granting private workers a P 125 across the board, across the country wage increase.

To recover and further enhance the purchasing power of the Filipino fishermen, the workers and the poor, Pamalakaya said the government should scrap the 12 percent expanded Value Added Tax on all petroleum products, consumer good, utilities and services.

“These are doable items and sound economic measures to ease the burden and cushion the impact of global economic crisis. What this government need is a strong political will. But the trouble is the will of this government is only meant for big time ticket for corruption and unstoppable subservience to transnational interest and class interest of the elite,” added Pamalakaya. #

They will brave the murky waters of Manila Bay to protest the unstoppable hikes in the prices of petroleum products

They will brave the murky waters of Manila Bay to protest the unstoppable hikes in the prices of petroleum products

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