ANTIPOLO CITY, April 11, 2010—Militant fishers’ group, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (National Strength of Fisherfolk Movement in the Philippines, Inc. or Pamalakaya) hits Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales for accusing the group that they were exporting communist guerillas to India and Thailand, using the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) as their front.
In a statement published in the daily blog of Pamalakaya, the Pamalakaya Times, Pamalakaya chair and ILPS fisherfolk representative Fernando Hicap presses Gonzales and National Intelligence Coordination Agency (NICA) chief Pedro Cabuay, to retract their statements; issue a public apology; and refrain from tagging militant groups as terrorists’ fronts.
“It was the Philippine government who is exporting its state terrorism campaign against Filipino progressives abroad by spreading these malicious claims and false allegations in the name of US led terrorism all over the world and in the name of national security doctrine in the name of modern day global slavery and oppression,” stated Hicap.
The ILPS, founded in 2001 in the Netherlands, is an international assembly of 350 progressive organizations from 50 countries in Asia and the Pacific, and even Europe.
On the information published in the ILPS website, it called itself an “anti-imperialist and a democratic formation,” which “promotes, supports and develops the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the people of the world against imperialism and all reaction.”
Hicap said while it is true that Pamalakaya members had participated in various international conferences and gatherings organized the ILPS, it is a complete lie that they are there to train local insurgents.
“We are there to promote international solidarity through sharing of Filipino fisherfolk issues and struggles in the Philippines and support their peers’ struggles in other parts of the world through campaigns, mobilizations and other form of advocacy,” he said.
The Pamalakaya, says Hicap, had had been to India twice for international gatherings opposed to World Trade Organization and free trade liberalization in 2005 and 2008, and had been to Thailand in 2002 once and thrice in 2009 not to export communist rebels but to discuss the impact of trade liberalization on fisheries, share experiences on disaster preparedness and express sectoral views on the ASEAN Human Rights charter.
Hicap said that his group is planning to file criminal and administrative charges against Secretary Gonzalez and Cabuay and that they will soon consult their lawyers about what charges shall be filed against the two security officials. (Noel Sales Barcelona)