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Aurora protesters midway through march

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Exhausted but determined, 120 farmers, fishermen and Agta villagers marched for the eighth day in protest of the creation of a 12,923-hectare economic zone that they said would displace some 3,000 families in Casiguran, Aurora.

The marchers, who began their trek on Nov. 24, on Saturday crossed the boundary of Aurora, reaching Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija by 2 p.m.  They had hurdled about half of their 350-km, 18-day journey and expect to reach Malacañang on Dec. 9.

The Senate earlier approved a P353-million allocation for the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco) that was proposed by Sen. Edgardo Angara.  The senators said the project would spur progress in Aurora and nearby provinces, making it the country’s Pacific gateway.

Kent Avestruz, Apeco deputy administrator, said zone officials had been reaching out to the groups opposed to the project through forums and assemblies.

“We have openly invited them several times, especially Fr. Joefran Talaban, but they never attended any of the barangay assemblies where the largest [number of] participants reached more or less 3,000,” Avestruz said.

He said the farmers were against the Aurora State College of Technology (Ascot), not Apeco.

The state college has a reservation inside Apeco but the farmers are claiming the area, saying they had been tilling the land there for decades, he said.

“They are not the legitimate owners but are illegal settlers inside Ascot trying to claim the land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program,” he said.

But Marlon Angara, chair of Task Force Anti-Apeco, called Avestruz’s statements “misleading and untrue.”


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Tags: Agta villagers , Apeco , Aurora , Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport , Casiguran , Edgardo Angara


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/33IDZABZNVROBDZTATPPHOYBEI Jake

    Naku…Illegal settlers pala sila. Sounds familiar ah. Parang yung mga nagrarally lang yung mga settlers dito sa Manila din. Nakitira nalang sila pa ang galit

    • http://www.facebook.com/geneva.guyano Geneva Frances C. Guyano

       Bago nating sabihin sila ay mga “illegal settlers” mahalagang makita natin kung talaga nga bang pag-aari ng APECO ang mga lupang nasasakop at sinasabing pag-aari nila? Kung tutuusin, pag-aari naman talaga ng mga Casiguranong magsasaka at mangingisda ang malaking bahagi ng lupang nasasakop  ng APECO – iyan ang sabi ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law at Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. Hindi rin dapat pinaalis ang mga mangingisda sa kanilang tirahan nang ganoon na lamang, ni wala man lamang seguradong resettlement para sa kanila. Sa katunayan ay may karapatan sila sa unang 15-km ng katubigan sa kanilang munisipalidad, sang-ayos sa Fisheries Code. Ang ilan sa batas na ito ay nariyan na bago pa man isabatas ang APECO.

      Kung ang mga nagpoprotestang ito ay may karapatan sa o kung kanila man ang lupang inaari ng APECO, papaanong nangyari ito? Bakit mayroon tayong isang batas na tahasang nilalabag ang mga dati nang naipatupad na batas?

      Sa ganitong lagay, masasabi ba nating sila nga ay “illegal settlers”?

  • yagit182

    Parang late na yata sila kasi kalagitnaan nung marcha nila, dineny na ng senado yung hinihiling nilang 0 budget e. 

  • olalalalala

    i think mas moral-victoy na ang gusto ng mga farmers dito…so far, wala silang solid na ebidensya na pwedeng ipprove lahat ng mga accusation nila eh. Kase naman, kaduda-duda talaga sakin kung bakit nila hindi to dinala sa courts. Kung meron talagang labag sa human rights at batas nangyare, eh dapat nag mamarcha sila papuntang hall of justice, hindi sa malacañang. Wala din, yun din yung sasabihin ni Pnoy sakanila pag dating nila…reklamo nalang kayo sa justice system and learn to trust it. Etong mga taong to ginagamit ang media hype eh. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/geneva.guyano Geneva Frances C. Guyano

      May mga ebidensya na nalikom mula sa panayam sa maraming tao sa Casiguran at pagsasaliksik na nagpapakita ng hindi magandang maidudulot at ang maanomalyang prosesong dinaanan ng APECO. Nakakalungkot lamang na hindi pa ito tinatalakay ng media. Kung titingnan natin ang privilege speech ni Angara, puro salita rin naman iyon, wala rin namang matibay na ebidensya.

      Sa katunayan, mga 5 taong na rin nilang ipinaglalaban ang kanilang karapatan. May mga nagtungo na sa DAR, DENR, NCIP atbp. upang iharap ang kanilang kaso. Ngunit hindi umuusad ang proseso. Ngayong limpak-limpak na salapi ang ilalagay rito, na wala namang kasiguruhan na magbibigay ito ng kasaganaan, kinakailangang gawin na ito.

      Ang totoo: may pinanghahawakang karapatan at ebidensya ang mga Casiguranon na nagmamartsa ngayon papuntang Manila.

  • kuracha

    Oo nga diba na approve na ang budget for 2k13? Bakit pa sila nagmamarcha? @yagit182:disqus  

    @olalalalala:disqus  mas moral victory nga din yung tingin ko.. di kase pwedeng pang palit ng budget to eh. mahirap na lalo kung majority pa ang nag approve ng apeco budget. 

    sakin lang sana, sana matuto makipag-usap ng maayos ang mga taong to. Wild kung dederecho ka mag marcha, tapos wala palang maayos na negotiation na naganap sa dalawang campp.. ang labo lang isipin para sakin na baka di nila alam kung pano nila to ayusin, kaya nag protesta nalang sila. 

    • jumblebee

      2010 (o baka dati pa kung nagkakamali ako) pa tong issue na to, dati pa sila nakikipag-usap pero hayan, pagawa parin nang pagawa. Kung ikaw kaya paalisin sa bahay mo nang nananahimik kayo, ano gagawin mo?

  • kuneherzzz

    Ako, I love the indigenous peoples of the Philippines, I love farmers, I love peace, but what I do not appreciate is a lot of lying and useless demonstrations for public admiration. There is no real evidence that I was exposed to, or was available in the internet, that was able to clearly and without reasonable doubt, implicate that APECO was behind all these accusations being thrown at them. In fact, the people in Casiguran feel the same way, too! They don’t understand why these people we’re marching and suffer for something that is not concrete… 

    Very confusing for me. I want to believe the farmers, but they have to do better than appeal to my pity. 

  • rodben

    Mr. Angara tumatakbo kyo ngayong 2013 elections at ang ganda ng TV AD sayang din itong mga boto nitong mga farmers

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3TWVIBNBHJIBKXLUC5IT2JYM5E Harry

    “….He said the farmers were against the Aurora State College of Technology (Ascot), not Apeco.
    The state college has a reservation inside Apeco but the farmers are claiming the area, saying they had been tilling the land there for decades, he said.
    “They are not the legitimate owners but are illegal settlers inside Ascot trying to claim the land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program,” he said.
    But Marlon Angara, chair of Task Force Anti-Apeco, called Avestruz’s statements “misleading and untrue.”……

    What is a state college reservation doing inside an Eco-zone? 
    If the farmers are really against ASCoT. then APECO should not contain the reservation, lest it be suspected of land-grabbing under the name of a learning institution.
    If the farmers were the settlers long before that tract of land became a reservation then they have the right to claim those lands as their own under the CARP.
    The issue may become more serious than the Hacienda Luisita if Angara choose to ignore the rights of those farmers.



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