The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said livelihood of Filipino fisherfolk adversely affected by Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea is “not a joke.”
The militant fishers’ group made the statement Tuesday, May 11, after President Duterte admitted that his campaign promise to go to the West Philippine Sea on a jet ski and assert the country’s rights over the disputed waters was just a joke.
In a televised public address on May 10, the President has also said that the people who believed his campaign promise back in 2016 were “stupid.”
“Mr. Duterte just admitted that he audaciously scammed the Filipinos right in front of a fisherman who asked about his position on Chinese intervention of our territorial waters,” Pamalakaya said.
“The fisherman was crying for help, and he deceived him face to face, on a national television, in the name of advancing his political ambition,” it added.
Pamalakaya was referring to Carlo Montehermozo, a fisherman who got harassed by Chinese forces at Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough/Panatag Shoal.
During the 2016 presidential debates, Montehermozo asked the presidential candidates what they would do to help fishermen so they can fish peacefully within Philippine waters.
In his response, Duterte vowed that he would ride a jet ski to Spratly island and plant a Philippine flag to assert the country’s ownership.
However, five years after he was elected as president, Duterte has yet to visit the island.
“Fishers are no more fools and nobody expects anything from the President anymore who just bent the knee and betrayed our nation for China,” Pamalakaya said.
“His entire presidency is a hoax. The only way to regain our control of our exclusive economic zone is when Duterte and his cohorts are removed from power,” the group added.