Military and police intimidation against Mindoro boat construction project, condemned
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the Southern Tagalog People’s Corps (STPC) condemnned the harassment and intimidation by the military and the police against fishermen and humanitarian groups who undertook a Boat Construction Project in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro the past days. After disrupting the program, the notorious 1st Company, 2nd CMO Battalion shamelessly declared today that the program is part of the National Task Force-Elcac campaign.
According to Pamalakaya, the project is being carried out in Barangay San Jose Uno with the cooperation of the STPC and the Association of Fishermen of Naujan (SAMANA), in coordination with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Central Office and started on February 5. The purpose of this project is to distribute boats and fishing equipment to the members of Pamalakaya-Oriental Mindoro who were affected by the oil spill last year.
The STPC reported that even on the first day, the project was already delayed by soldiers searching for a new permit (sanitary permit) and requirements such as additional fire extinguishers that the Bureau of Fire Protection-Oriental Mindoro also searched for.
Because of the soldiers’ disruptive actions, the fisherfolk feared the project would not proceed despite the prompt and early coordination with the local government of Naujan and the BFAR Regional Office.
In this regard, the STPC, along with local fishermen, called on the public and government offices for the immediate withdrawal of the police and military. “Their presence creates fear because they carry arms, take photographs without permission and frequently ask local fishermen and STPC volunteer leaders for private information,” the group said.
“The military and the police have nothing to do with the construction of the boats, because our project is coordinated and, in fact, has the support of the BFAR itself,” said Nimuel Yangco of the STPC-Ayuda Para sa Mindoro Taskforce.
He said, there find no reason for the military’s insistence on interfering in the livelihood project other than the fact that they are a progressive organization. “This is blatant harassment and violation of our right to livelihood,” according to Yangco.
He shared that such a project is the result of their community’s action to request livelihood support from the national government in the face of the long-term effects of the oil spill on their aquatic resources. “Despite this, the military and police ignore their collective efforts, and instead intimidate and insist on their presence in the construction,” he further stated.
The military shamelessly spread the lie that they are part of the project.