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Fishers’ group opposes proposed military pact with Japan


A FISHERS’ group has expressed opposition to a suggested military agreement with Japan, saying enhanced maritime security activities will only intensify tensions at the disputed South China Sea.      

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said in a statement on Wednesday that another foreign military pact will “not de-escalate tension” in their fishing grounds but will “instead inflame it.”  

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., who was in a five-day state visit to Japan last week, said he is open to forging a Philippines-Japan Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to help protect the country’s maritime territory and local fisherfolk.   

“Opposite to Marcos’ claims that it will help protect Filipino fishers and our maritime territory, a VFA with Japan will only pave the way to more cases of harassment and further plundering of our resources,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando L. Hicap said in the statement.  

A VFA with Japan, similar to the Philippines-United States accord, will allow Japanese troops in and out of the country for bilateral training or military exercises.  

“Marcos’ ‘the more, the merrier’ foreign policy just demonstrates his indignity and lack of political will to defend our country’s sovereignty, patrimony, and independence,” the group said.  

PAMALAKAYA said that it maintains its strong opposition against any foreign military intervention in the country, “whether it be China, US, Japan, or any superpowers.”  

“We should stand on our own feet against China using international laws, such as our historic victory in the arbitral tribunal. We don’t need any protection from any foreign nations that have their own economic and geopolitical interests. We certainly don’t need another superpower displaying military might in our territory,” Mr. Hicap said.  

He also urged the Marcos administration to settle the territorial dispute with China “peacefully, diplomatically, and in accordance with an independent foreign policy.” — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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