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Gabriela: PH independence ‘as cheap as noodles’

/ 11:13 AM June 12, 2018

PANATAG FISHING Filipino fishermen catch fish near Panatag Shoal in the presence of Chinese Coast Guard vessels in this photo taken in 2016. —RICHARD A. REYES

The value of the country’s independence “has been cheapened to noodles,” representatives of Gabriela Women’s Party said Tuesday for the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence.

On Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque brought fishermen from Masinloc, Zambales to a media briefing in Malacañang after media reported on the taking of Filipino fishermen’s catch by the China Coast Guard in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.

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Roque said Filipino fishermen were sometimes given cigarettes, noodles, and water “in exchange” for their catch.

Garbiela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas lambasted this statement as an “insult,” and an “attack to Philippine sovereignty.”

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“Philippine independence has never been this cheap…Pwede palang noodles at yosi lang ang kapalit ng kalayaang ipinaglaban nina Gabriela Silang at ibang bayani?” de Jesus said in a statement.

(Can we really accept noodles and cigarettes in exchange for the independence heroes like Gabriela Silang and others have fought for?)

“Ninanakaw din ang ating kalayaan at ang ating dignidad bilang isang bansang tumindig at lumaban sa mga mananakop. Kaya insulto na ipagmalaki pa ng Palasyo na binigyan naman daw ng noodles at yosi ang mga mangingisdang inagawan ng huli,” she added.

(They are also taking our independence and dignity as a nation that is standing up against its oppressors. That’s why it’s an insult that the Palace is even bragging that Filipino fishermen are given noodles and cigarettes.)

For her part, Brosas said Roque’s admission speaks also of how the Duterte regime has cheapened the lives of Filipinos.

“It’s as if Malacañang is also saying that Filipinos should be contented with noodles in exchange for whatever that is robbed from them. This illustrates how our lives have also become so cheap with the unabated price hikes and stagnant wages under Duterte,” Brosas said.

Brosas said the suffering of majority of poor Filipinos is aggravated by the permanent impacts of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law, which imposed higher and new taxes on oil, sugar-sweetened beverages, and other basic commodities.

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“The country is now at 120 years since the supposed independence but Filipinos continue to reel from widespread poverty, mendicant foreign policy, and brutal killings which are condoned by the state. There is no cause for celebration today except the continuing struggle of women and people for genuine independence,” she also said.   /muf

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TAGS: China, China Coast Guard, fishermen, Gabriela, Scarborough Shoal
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