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Sunday, June 16, 2024

‘Atin ito’s’ forays exploit poor fisherfolk

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“ASEAN and China are working towards a collectively beneficial sharing of the South China Sea resources”

“FARMERS and fisherfolk were the two poorest groups of workers in the Philippines in 2021, with nearly one in three living below the poverty threshold, compared to the national average of around one in five,” according to a survey by the Philippines Statistics Authority released in July of 2023.

But between Filipino farmers and fisherfolk, the latter is in far worse condition.

As reported in various media in Jan. 2024, “…malnutrition is most prevalent among fishing families,” a study by the Department of Science and Technology Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed. Expanded National Nutrition Survey collected in 2018, 2019, and 2021 showed one in every five infants to toddlers aged five in the Philippines was underweight.

“Three out of 10 kids in the same age group from among fisher families were stunted, and 3 out of every 10 children aged between 5 and 10 years old were underweight and stunted.”

Lawyer Gloria Ramos, vice president of non-government group Oceana, linked poverty and lack of access to affordable food as factors to malnutrition among kids from the fishing sector.

“Ironically, ‘yan ang sinasabi nila: ‘Kami ang nagpu-provide, pero kami ang mahirap. Malnourished ang aming children because ‘yung mga high value, ‘yung maayos na isda, ibinebenta. Sa kanila ‘yung tira-tira’,” Ramos said.

The poverty crisis of our fisherfolk actually stems from decades-upon-decades of government neglect of the fisherfolk communities and the poverty problem in general, as well as by government abandoning national economic development programs in favor economic and financial exploitation of the nation’s economy by the oligarchic elite and its foreign financial controllers.

But it’s not only the oligarchic exploitation we must add, it’s the Western-funded Filipino NGO communities who have exploited the poor farmers and fisherfolk as “do gooder” projects to raise funds among Western “philanthropic” (such as Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, put in quotes because they all have geopolitical motives) funding agencies like USAID, Caritas, AusAid, etc.

On May 15, the NGO coalition “Atin Ito” led by the “Yellow” Akbayan (leftists associated with the EDSA I pro-West neo-liberal political values) and aging cleric-cum-activist and lifelong EU funding mendicant Edicio de la Torre, launched its “100 boats to join 2nd West PH Sea civilian mission” in a “symbolic” action to highlight Philippines’ claims to Scarborough Shoal.

In the first “Atin Ito” foray into the Ayungin Shoal in Dec. 2023, the convoy of ships and boats led by Edicio de la Torre quickly turned tail at the first sign of Chinese Coast Guard’s shadowing.

This second time they were sending pump boat fuel and some food for fishermen asked to wait around the Scarborough Shoal and wait for the 50 Western and local media to video them.

What happened to the fishermen after “Atin ito’s” second media event, where would the fishermen get such “free” fuel and food again?

Theoretically, the fishermen catch their own fish and should be economically independent but after fuel cost and selling off the best catch only trash fish is let for the family.

The “Atin ito” forays are part of the “assertive transparency” strategy of “Project Myoushu” crafted by the US Office of Naval Intelligence through the Cordian Knot Center for National Secuirty Innovations in Stanford University led by ex-USAF colonel Raymond Powell, a name you will see regularly interviewed on ANC and 24 Oras news shows and leading PCG spokesman Commodore Tarriela’s public statements.

“Atin ito” is one of the most cynical displays of opportunistic exploitation of the Filipino poor by the US-Filipino proxy clique for the propaganda purposes of the US.

If China takes its response to the next higher stage, which is to ban Filipino fishermen from fishing in the entire Scarborough Shoal as in post-2012 stand-off, all the fishermen of Zambales will suffer even worse poverty.

ASEAN and China are working towards a collectively beneficial sharing of the South China Sea resources, the Philippines will miss out on this if it keeps up its collaboration with the U.S. in destabilizing the regions and its economic stability and progress.

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