Rally set for bid to support Apeco amid review by Neda

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—At least 700 farmers, fishermen, Dumagat and Agta supporting the establishment of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco) in Casiguran, Aurora, are marching today (Friday) to the capital town of Baler to call for the continuation of the project.

The show of support for the Apeco came after President Benigno Aquino gave the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) a week to review the 12,923-hectare economic zone project facing the Pacific Ocean.

The President issued the order on Tuesday after he met 120 protesters who marched for 18 days, covering a 350-kilometer route from Casiguran to Metro Manila, to ask him to stop the Apeco.

The protesters said the project was approved without consultation with the affected residents or approval of local officials. They said this threatened to displace them from ancestral domain and farming and fishing grounds.

But Nora Gutierrez, president of the Samahan ng mga Katutubong Dumagat sa Aurora (Sakada), called the protesters’ claims as “all lies.”

Kent Avestruz, Apeco deputy administrator, denied that the agency organized the pro-Apeco rally. “We don’t have budget for this,” he said.

Gutierrez said that in villages covered by the Apeco, “nobody was told to leave.”

“The Dumagat were given 55 core houses and livelihood projects,” she said.

Marlon Angara, head of the Casiguran-based Task Force Anti-Apeco (TFAA), said Gutierrez’s endorsement of Apeco has divided indigenous peoples in the town.

“I urge her to stand for us, poor farmers and fishermen, and poor members of the tribes, especially the Agta of San Ildefonso who are being displaced when Apeco widened its area and occupied the lands,” Angara said.

Angara said he and his fellow marchers are still in Metro Manila and are staying with the Roman Catholic Church’s Caritas.

“We are not yet returning [to Aurora] until the Neda is done with its review,” he said.

Casiguran Mayor Reynaldo Bitong welcomed the pro-Apeco rally, saying this was an occasion to hear the “good things” that Sen. Edgardo Angara and his son, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, were doing for the province’s residents. The Angaras sponsored the laws that created the Apeco.

“But I want them (Angaras) to tell the truth that the Apeco bypassed me, the municipal council and the communities. We did not issue any resolution supporting or protesting the Apeco,” Bitong said.

“Apeco could mean progress. What is wrong [with the project] is the procedure it underwent,” said the mayor. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon with report from DJ Yap in Manila

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  • noyab

    tigilan mo na yan ANGARA PAL…..familya mo lang ang mag benefit dyan

    • Sirena101

      Pano naging about kay Angara to? Eh mismo ang mga locals na mismo nag organize ng pro-APECO march? Aber? 

    • kuneherzzz

      Pake mo sa mga tao dun? The way I see it, if there are jobs being created, livelihood being established, and opportunities to be had, how does that singularly benefit one? How shortsighted are you? 

  • Sirena101

    I think that it is about time that the people from Aurora finally stepped up and spoke about their true feelings about APECO. The project is aimed to raise the level of livelihood for all peoples in the area, and the true people of Casiguran and Aurora are finally rising up. It’s about time really. Set things straight na and stop with all the lies! 

  • lindarockerchiq

    Wow, di pala to totoo?O_o
    Nora Gutierrez, president of the Samahan ng mga Katutubong Dumagat sa Aurora (Sakada), called the protesters’ claims as “all lies.”

  • cactusjax

    I saw something about this in school the other day… can’t believe the people in casiguran are being misrepresented by the marchers.. buti nalang di ako sumali sa mga meeting nila..

  • David Managol

    I think the APECO project is just grossly misunderstood by the public. I blame the media really for this. A lesson in journalism, perhaps? 

  • peachyku

    It’s just a matter of time until the truth comes out. I hope the NEDA review comes quick. Here’s hoping for a more progressive Philippines. :)

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    Talaga magaling ito mga angara sa divide and conquer…..magaling magpadulas yan ang tamang term!

  • EdgarEdgar

    When President Aquino requested NEDA to review the APECO project, he is actually just trying to buy more time for the Angaras to mount a counter-offensive media campaign. While any NEDA mid-level manager will tell you that one week is insufficient for an exhaustive reevaluation of Angara’s personal dream city and field verification, one week is good enough for the Angara’s to to increase the noise level and distort the truth. This rally in support of APECO is just the beginning. The Angaras have more tricks up their sleeves. Not a bad tactic from a president who right from the beginning decided to support the Angaras in exchange for political favors. Transactional politics at its most obvious.

    With the Angara father and son unable to produce any credible study to convince the viability of APECO’s business model during the senate hearing, there is good reason to believe that the entire project might just end up as another smuggling port like Subic, Mactan or Port Irene. To think, we the taxpayers have already spent P2 billion thus far on Angara’s personal dream city built entirely on shifty sand, against the buffeting winds of the Pacific Ocean and not far from the unstable rough edges of a tectonic plate. We don’t need to squander another P353 million in 2013 just to convince ourselves that this is throwing good money after bad. Of all people, President Aquino who’s got Chinese blood should know that this is not just bad fengshui but also bad economics on top of bad science.

    Meanwhile, just as the disenfranchised Casigurans mustered what little remains of their energy to plead their case with the president, Sonny Angara who is running for senator was busy running after Manny Pacquiao in the south side of the Metro trying to get himself photographed with our homecoming national treasure. Desperately trying to partake in Manny’s defeated but unvanquished glory. The very same unsavory Sonny Angara who joined the presidential motorcade months ago to flood-stricken areas to do his premature electioneering as opposed to distributing relief goods to flood victims.

    The Angarapals, father and son, highly educated and all but morally bankrupt.

    • bantaybulee

      Why so angry at the Angaras? Are you taking this opportunity to blatantly attack them, just because they were mentioned in this article? You keep on commenting on related articles, attempting to skew the truth and mislead people! Obviously you’re in a black propaganda campaign! But I’m sorry, you won’t fool me. You be happy with the bitterness you live with. 

      • EdgarEdgar

        Oh I love the Angaras. Just not Angara’s dream city at the expense of taxpayers. And not Angara’s insensitivity to the Casigurans. Be well my friend.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJGGXLUBZJ2SLUZEEIE7S34XDU Ricky

        kapatid na edgar… punta ka sa casiguran at mag-imbistiga….pakikuha muna pangalan ng mga sinasabing pinalayas at ingawan ng lupa… tapos hanapin mo bahay nila at mgtanong sa kapitbahay o sa barangay bka d man lang sila naka-rehistro… pgkatapos tanungin mo sino may-ari ng lupa at refer to DAR or DENR or munisipyo… puro ka salita… punta ka rito para mapatunayan mo ang totoo… concerned ka di ba?? at saka pala pakitanong na rin sa pamunuan ng iglesia ni kristo sa central office kung may natanggap ba ang kanilang simbahan sa land conversion or landgrabbing sa kanilang local sa casiguran… kuha ka muna detalye dyan sa manila o sa CBCP then punta ka casiguran & verify… PWEDE?? 

        punta ka cubao… hanapin mo genesis bus… 1 am,2am,3am cubao to baler… tapos sakay ka D-liner bus.. baler to casiguran… oh bka maligaw ka pa nyan… tanong mo rin dun sa baler… ilang oras byahe dati ( 3 years ago) at ngayon.. as in ngayon ha… PWEDE??

      • EdgarEdgar

        you sound so desperate Ricardo. happy holidays!

    • olalalalala

      Nag-effort ka pa mag sulat, kabobohan naman ang laman.

      • EdgarEdgar

        Thanks for reading my post olalalala. It may take you years to fully comprehend it. Let me commend you for your perseverance as early as now. 5 brownie points.

  • kuracha

    It’s really true that people from Aurora do not resist APECO. There are only these so called marchers who do not like it, and they were propagated and enabled by emotional wrecks in the Church and other schools. I hope the Church would back away from the APECO issue and just focus on repairing themselves. 

  • olalalalala

    Really makes you wonder, doesn’t it: 700 > 125 marchers. Who is really representing the people of Aurora here? 

  • Ritchie Rich

    THIS is getting so much media hype because there are politicians involved. If only it were not elections, those “125 protesters” wouldn’t have had the budget to march to Ateneo to be met by the President. I wonder who is backing this march of theirs? Those uniforms, materials, and other clothes cost a lot of money. Money, I assumed, they didn’t have! 

    • kuracha

      Masmaintindihan ko pa nga ang 700 protesters, kase medyo mas reasonable yung cause nila. Yung 125 parang nanunuod lang ako ng MMK eh. Aping-api na daw sila? Syempre, naglakad sila mulang Aurora hanggang Manila eh! 

      • GatasNgCow

        masiyado sila madrama eh ‘no? sobra sa drama na nakakapangduda na. kaya din ata parang inis na inis si PNoy nung nagkita sila sa ateneo eh, kasi masiyado nilang ineexaggerate at tulad ng sabi ni PNoy na, di naman nila kinailangan mag marcha pwede naman na sinabihan nalang si PNoy tapos si PNoy na mismo bumisita sa Aurora.

  • Floridahhh

    Ayan na nga ang sinasabi ko. Noon pa masama ang kutob ko dun sa 120 eh. Masiyado talaga maliit yun to represent ang buong aurora, kung naaapektuhan talaga ang buong aurora ang dami sana talagang nag marcha nun, payat ang 120. Ayan tuloy nag rally na din yung mga naiwan sa casiguran, masiyado kasi papansin yung 120, karamihan pa dun informal settlers.

  • http://www.ninoyandcory.gov.ph/ It’s No Time To Doubt Now

    We love Ninoy the Superhero Almighty and Blessed Mama Cory. We thank them for sending us their only begotten son our beloved President PNoy. Because of our dear leader PNoy’s vision, we are now back on the map of global investors. Investors are waiting in line to come to the Philippines and set up their businesses in projects like APECO. This economic zone and free port-city has the potential of becoming something akin to Yokohama, Barcelona, Shanghai, Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong all rolled into one. Except that we have much more going for us — we have the perfect weather, the perfect sun, the perfect sand and the perfect spot along the equator. In short, we have a chance to become the countries that so many OFW wannabes are pining to work in and even more. If only this dream can be allowed to materialize and come to fruition, many Filipinos will benefit from it. If only the unschooled highland and coastal tribesmen will wrap their brains around sound economic principles, then business will naturally flow in once we built it. So will greater trade along the Pacific seaboard between the Philippines, North and South America.

    But all is not well for now. Because some scantily-clad and barefooted tribesmen from the highlands decided to come down to the lowlands and stir up trouble. Instead of just being happy to be model minorities, these indigenous peoples and aborigines together with their fake fisher folks and others are creating too much noise about nothing. Instead of paying taxes like we all do, they insist on living off the richness of the land, hunting and gathering in perpetuity. Instead of supporting human progress, they decided to overdramatize their dying civilization if it even qualifies as one. Instead of discussing the merits of the project, they decided to march for miles and miles as if led by the exhibitionist Gandhi or some negro leader of the civil rights movement. Given enough practice, some of them actually have the potential of outrunning the superathletes of Ethiopia. But no, they would hear none of it. They would not heed any call to reason or to amicable settlement. All these Casigurans want is free lunch, while the rest of us in this country feed the lot of them.

    It is high time that we give our beloved President PNoy special powers to defeat the evil forces of these Casigurans. It is high time that we fortify the mandate of our dear leader PNoy and consolidate his power base by putting Bam Aquino and Ting-Ting Cojuangco in the senate. It is high time that we banish these uncivilized and lawless people to Palau or some small desolate Pacific island where they belong. Casigurans = Anti-Progress!

    Sa Daang Matuwid, wala kang talo. Go with the flow. Go with Daang Matuwid.

    and may I humbly suggest:
    vote straight LP in 2013
    Ninoy 2.0 =  Bam Aquino

  • joboni96

    welcome the palas of the angaras

    libreng transportasyon
    libreng kain
    with allowance pa

    sarap bumisita sa manila pag christmas

    vote for angara jr sa senado
    vote for angara sister sa house
    vote for angara the governor
    vote mo na lahat ng iba pang angara

    para tuloy ang
    Angara Pera Edgardo and CO

  • http://www.google.com/ EdmunDantes

    There are three kinds of personalities prevalent in the comment section:

    1) The Supporters of APECO
    2) The Bashers of Angara, and
    3) the guy who think President PNOY is Jesus

    The only personality on point in the conversation, is group 1. All the rest are here either to hate, to troll, or simply to spread black propaganda. 

    Let’s stay on point. Focus on the subject matter. Is APECO reasonable to you? Will it bring prosperity to Aurora? How will they fix the problem created by the division of peoples? Who is telling the truth?  Is there a reconciliation between the marchers and the real 700 people representing pro-APECO movements? 

    These are the questions we have to answer. Not your dense theories. Yes I’m calling you out @EdgarEdgar:disqus . 

  • RicoSwavey

    Well I don’t know whether to believe bitong or not, but what really matters to me is that APECO is bringing progress to Aurora and eventually to the Philippines. This I think is good. period.

  • baitcaster

    It’s good to know that reason exists in Aurora. You see? A lot of people there approve of Apeco and the hope it brings. They anticipate better roads, more and improved medical facilities, water with enough pressure to get up to the bathroom, power 24/7, air transportation, more recreational facilities, more job opportunities, more internet and cell phone service. Welcome, Aurora, to the 21st century!

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