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Marcos told to avow sea rights 

A FISHERFOLK group on Wednesday asked President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to reassert sovereign rights over the South China Sea as Chinese incursions continued to affect their livelihood.   

In a statement, Fernando L. Hicap, national chairman of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas, said Filipino fishers have lost 70% of their catch with China’s increased presence in the disputed water. 

“The Marcos administration should be deeply concerned about the long-term damage this may cause on our local fish production and take immediate steps to support the affected fishers, while also decisively asserting our rights in the West Philippine Sea,” he said, referring to areas of the sea with the country’s exclusive economic zone. 

The group issued the statement during their coastal protest in time for the seventh year anniversary of the arbitral ruling that voided China’s claim to more than 80% of the South China Sea. 

Mr. Hicap said many fishers have been forced to abandon their livelihood and seek other jobs. 

In 2022, Philippine fish production in the South China Sea fell by 6.59% to 275,872 metric tons (MT) from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.   

About 376,733 Filipino fishermen depend on the sea for their livelihood. 23. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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