Farmers, fishers protest vs China Coast Guard’s latest provocative actions – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

In a protest outside the Chinese Consulate in Makati City, farmers, fishers, and other democratic sectors criticized anew the Chinese Coast Guard’s (CCG) latest incidents of bullying against Filipino fishermen. They said that these relentless incidents of maritime aggression and incursion into the Philippines’ internationally recognized exclusive economic zone (EEZ) are continuing affront to our country’s national sovereignty.

“Filipino fishers know very well that Panatag shoal is a part of and within our EEZ, and that they have all the right to tread and fish in the area. The face-to-face clash between Filipino fishers and the CCG last January 12 is just the latest in a neverending high-seas confrontation. As long as China insists on trespassing our EEZ, Filipino fishers will remain vigilant and assertive of our rights and sovereignty as a nation,” according to Danilo Ramos, chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). .  

KMP also said that the escalating dispute between the Philippine and Chinese governments would only invite further intervention from the United States government and military especially with President Marcos Jr’s subservience to the United States. “China’s stubborn incursion only invites U.S. intervention and war-mongering and puts Filipinos in extreme danger.”

Malacanang will likely host the 2-plus-2 meeting in Manila next month which will coincide with the preparations for the 39th Balikatan joint US-PH military exercises. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet with PH foreign affairs secretary Enrique Manalo and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro to discuss strengthening of strategies and cooperation in the West Philippine Sea and Asia-Pacific. In recent months, the U.S. military has openly displayed its military vessels and war materiel in the West Philippine Sea. This year’s Balikatan will involve more than 18,000 U.S. and Filipino troops and observers from foreign militaries.

“We demand the dismantling of China’s military facilities in the Philippines EEZ a stop to the CCG’s constant harassment against fishers. China has no authority to drive away and prevent the activities of Filipino fishers in our territorial waters,” according to Ramos. The group further noted that China maintains the 135-strong fleet of “maritime militia ships” disguised as fishing vessels along the Julian Felipe Reef since November last year.

“Filipinos do not want to be dragged into the looming military war between the United States and Chinese governments. We say: U.S. at China layas sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas,” the peasant leader concluded. #

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Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) was founded at a time of great political upheaval and broad mass movement against the tyranny and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds of peasant leaders and land reform advocates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao gathered during the historic founding of KMP on July 24, 1985. After thirty five years, KMP remains as the largest national democratic mass organization of peasants in the Philippines.

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