Militant fishers’ group slams Gibo’s ‘anti-peace’ stance

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Militant fishers� group slams Gibo�s �anti-peace� stance
Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. holds his first press briefing as the newly appointed secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on June 07, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — A militant fishers’ group yesterday slammed the supposed “anti-peace” stance of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, who had rejected peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

In a statement, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said that the personal position of Teodoro is an “anti-peace stance,” and it exposed the secretary as a supposed “hardcore militarist.”

“Mr. Teodoro has the option to continue the obviously failing anti-insurgency war and earn the wrath of the people, or he could be efficient in the defense department and maximize his control over the military to recover our territorial waters in the West Philippine Sea,” Pamalakaya national spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo said.

“It is not war that we’re asking for… but a concrete defense strategy in the face of continued Chinese intimidation of Filipino fishers in our own territorial fishing grounds,” he added.

Arambulo said that Teodoro is supposedly interested in “suppression of the people’s aspirations for genuine social change over pursuing lasting peace.”

“We challenge Mr. Teodoro to take the cudgels in defense of our national sovereignty vs foreign aggressors, instead of continuing the state-sponsored all-out war that actually targets democratic activists and their progressive organizations,” he said.

“Mr. Teodoro should be reminded that our territorial waters are currently occupied by at least seven artificial islands constructed by China. Aside from these artificial islands for military build-up, not less than 200 Chinese vessels have been conducting regular patrols within our exclusive economic zone (EEZ),” he added.

The group underscored that the presence of the Chinese within the country’s EEZ threatens the fishermen and the country’s naval state.

“(The) refusal to pursue peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is an indication that the recycled defense chief will only continue the state terrorism under the Marcos II regime,” Arambulo said.

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