Bongbong Marcos pressed to reassert PH rights over West Philippine Sea at UNGA
MANILA, Philippines — A fisherfolk organization on Monday urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is in New York City for the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), to “diplomatically reassert” before world leaders the country’s “sovereign and territorial rights” over the West Philippine Sea.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Marcos should firmly remind UNGA delegates of China, including State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, about the Philippines’ legal and political claims over the contested waters.
“Since Marcos would be in the same room with a Chinese official, he must diplomatically reassert our sovereign and territorial rights. Furthermore, he must remind the Chinese representative to obey the international arbitration and ultimately cease their military buildup and reclamation activities in our waters,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
Marcos, scheduled to speak before the UNGA this week, earlier vowed to bring up economic recovery, food security, and agricultural productivity before the international conference.
But Hicap challenged Marcos to also “raise the troubles we are facing in utilizing our marine and fishery resources in the Chinese-occupied West Philippine Sea” during the UNGA.
“He should garner support from the international community in pressuring China to comply with the international ruling and abandon their irrational claim over our waters,” he added.
The fisherfolk group reiterated that Marcos should not “miss this very opportunity” when highlighting the subject of Chinese incursions within the Philippine territories during the high-level world leaders’ meet.
“Marcos should not miss this very opportunity to seek international support in recovering our territorial waters and as part of his commitment to boost agricultural productivity and achieve local food security,” Hicap said.
According to data from Pamalakaya, fisherfolk in Zambales province have lost 70 percent of their daily income since China occupied Panatag Shoal in 2012.
Pamalakaya likewise noted that China’s “aggressive usurpation” in the West Philippine Sea – combined with alleged large-scale poaching – has also caused marine degradation and fish stock exhaustion. — Lyka Farillon, intern
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