Angara makes pitch for Apeco



Senator Edgardo Angara. FILE PHOTO

Sen. Edgardo Angara believes the proposed Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport Authority (Apeco) has taken on a regional strategic value following China’s recent announcement of new rules banning foreign vessels from waters it considers its territory in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Angara, author of the law creating the controversial free port in his province, said Apeco’s air and sea ports are the closest to the potentially mineral and natural gas-rich Benham Rise.

“So Apeco is the only pier and airport on the Pacific [side of the Philippines], the only free trade zone in the Pacific,” Angara said at a news conference on Saturday. “There’s no other. That’s why it acquired a very strategic value.”

Angara said Apeco’s air and sea ports have acquired “strategic value” as a result of China’s “closing off” the South China Sea.

Pacific route

They claim even our Kalayaan [group of islands] as part of their [territory] and they have issued a regulation that they can board any ship that enters that area,” Angara said.

“In effect, they have put up a tollgate in that area,” he added.

Since the principal navigation route for transporters of crude oil from the Middle East to Asian countries like Japan, Korea and the Philippines has been closed off, Angara said, the Pacific Ocean will again be the main route for shipping fuel.

Benham Rise

“So the Pacific is the most important maritime route again as it was in the galleon days and that’s why the Americans are deploying practically more than half of their military, as well as their naval and air forces, to the Pacific,” Angara said.

The United Nations earlier this year approved the Philippines’ claim to the 13-million-hectare area in the Pacific off the coast of Aurora known as Benham Rise.

“If there’s much gas in the Benham Rise and Benham Rise is an island submerged in the Pacific and the closest province to [it] is Aurora, then this port—both air and land—will become even more important,” Angara said.

He said those factors weren’t considered when the Apeco was being conceptualized.

“We only thought that Aurora is an underdeveloped area. It [is one of] the poorest 20 [provinces] and [Apeco] will benefit not just Aurora but also the landlocked provinces of Quirino, [Nueva] Vizcaya and southern Isabela,” Angara said.

Review extended

President Aquino has been reported to have extended the review of the Apeco.

Mr. Aquino ordered the review after residents of Casiguran, Aurora, marched to Manila to protest the project whose development was depriving them of their land and degrading the environment.

Angara said the controversy had nothing to do with his decision to withdraw from the gubernatorial election in Aurora next year.

He said most of the opponents of the project are not from Aurora.

Angara’s brother, Baler Mayor Arthur Angara, is running for governor in his place.

Angara’s son, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, is running for the Senate under President Aquino’s Liberal Party.

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  • Seaflip

    Philippines’ version of bridge to nowhere, or in our case, port to nowhere.  It’s a project to pad Angara’s retirement portfolio.

  • John_Galt_II

    What an idiot. He is giving up on territories being claimed by China just so he can justify his stupidity!

  • Gerald Abueva

    Senator Angara, your proposal is really out of this world. Pacific Ocean is beyond anyone’s control. The eastern seaboard bears the full brunt of any storm coming from the Pacific. Huwag niyo naman po kaming lokohin. You had your chance as a senator. You’ve managed to enrich yourself and your family. Your son Sonny Angara at his tender age and without much law practice already owns a house in Bel-Air. That alone should be enough to provide you and your family a happy retirement home. Also, stop making bad investment decisions such as when you and Sonny lost a combined $500,000 in the PPIC scam operated by the Singaporean Michael Lim. Hindi pa nga naitatanong ng taong bayan where you got so much money, peperahan niyo na naman kami. Ang kakapal ninyo.

  • Lloyd


  • zeroko

    Don’t ever believe the ANGARS. They are Chinese and the whole project is waste of people;s money. APECO or Casiguran, Quezon is 350 kilometers from Manila while the similar project which as been started 5 years ago, with similar objective, to have a free port has not materialized. It is lying idle. And Infanta Quezon is only 60 kilometers away if the new Antipolo-Infanta road has just been completed. “Mahilg gumawa ng gimmick ang Filipino-Chinese government natin. Again, it’s just waste of money.

    In fact, that area in Kandelaria belongs to the indigenous people and they were not consulted.

    What a stupid remark immanating from the mouth of Senator Angara saying that sooner or later, the China Sea or West Philippine Sea will no longer be use because of the Chinese claim on that area is an act of TREASON! Why would we surrender our national sovereignty over those kalayaan groups of Island? When Angara was sworn in as Senator, he makes a pledge to defend our Constitution and Sovereignty. Now, he is singing a different song. He is not only a Chinese, he is acting  pro-Chinese. 

    Let us remove his Filipino Citizenship. He is a threat to our national security. He does not deserve to be a Senator or any position in the government. He should be banned from public office for his being pro-Chinese.

  • zeroko

    Angara, YOU TRAITOR!!

  • Guest

    With all due respect Senator, you’re being disingenuous. You and your family are hardly natives of Aurora. You spent most of your life outside Aurora. Your son spent his formative years in a Jesuit school in Greenhills, San Juan and a decade more here and there but never in Aurora. People who oppose the APECO project have every right to do so because the natives sons and daughters of Aurora do not have a voice. They had to walk a long distance just to get the attention of the media and the president, who could hardly sit down and give them his undivided attention.

    In the spirit of a true Christian, please stop deceiving the nation, the Aurorans and yourself. The worldly treasure you acquire today will not gain you entry into the kingdom of God. Sonny, please live up to being a man for others. Stop devouring the land and livelihood of others.

  • Loggnat

    There is an excellent area in the Casiguran Sound that is very well
    protected from the Pacific Ocean waves. An ideal place for a seaport
    that can be located between Casiguran and Dinalungan in the area where
    the Casiguran airport is located. If not an International seaport, it
    can be developed as a starting point of tourist sea cruise routes along
    the Pacific coastal areas. A central location where local and
    international tourist can fly in from Manila or from Asian cities if the
    airport is upgraded to international standards. It could be a catalyst
    to the beginning of a sustainable and world class green tourist
    destination along the Pacific Coast. The development should be done in
    small steps or phases that will have predetermined goals and milestones
    for it to continue to the next phase. And most important of all,
    prohibit any political families from the management and leadership of
    the project and leave it all to dedicated business professionals that
    will work with the surrounding community to minimize damage to their
    livelihood, the environment and ecosystem of the area. Also make the
    indigenous people, residents of towns and cities where the development
    project will be located as active stakeholders to avoid conflict. In a
    normal world, that is how it is normally done but in the Philippines
    with its corrupt politicians and snail paced bureaucracy makes it a
    monumental and uphill battle to accomplished. A pipe dream!!!! Having
    said that, one can still dream and hopefully still try to make it

  • boybakal

    I support Angara.
    APECO is for Growth and Development. The purpose is to build port and highway.
    So, what is wrong with that.
    That part of Quezon is hard to travel and visit.
    With the port it would be accessible and convenient for the people and business.
    The beneficiary would be the people of Quezon and not Angara alone.

  • Guest

    This really is so crazy. So many opinions so many noise. This is reason why democracy is bad. Non-experts express too many non-expert opinions. Indecent people wearing thongs expressing non-expert opinions. Leave APECO to the experts. Experts like Senator Angara will be best for your country. Senator Angara has PhD, many of non-experts here have no PhD. Each and every one of you voted for him. Learn to trust his decision. APECO is good for Filipinos and also good for Asia. Many Chinese like me will love to go there. If you build it, the rest will follow. China is also willing to invest in APECO if no foreign ownership issue impede. Leave it to the experts. Non-experts should just keep quiet. 

    • elizabeth

      Hoy Pare sino ang nagtsismis sa iyo na expert si Angara dito sa isyu? Baka sa ibang bagay ok? Anong PHD ni Angara ang binubuga mo kabise? Baka ikaw lang nagbigay sa kaniya. Kayo mga kabise baka may negosyo na kayo agad diyan? Ingat lang.        

    • J

      Sounds you are an expert. There are couple of meanings of PhD… the prominent one is Permanent head Damage.
      If democracy is bad then how come you are able to express your opinion about us in here.
      Mind you Chinese may want to go there to mine and smuggle out our mineral resources for sure and that is one of the reasons why non-experts are making noise.

  • RobertoMagtuytoy

    ang gara mo ANGARA.  Kaya pala daming kwenta sa kwento,  lugar pala nila…..heheheh speaking af Anti – Dynasty…..

  • John_Galt_II

    “The Apeco is the only port in the Pacific” Yes of course, because no one is stupid enough to build a port in a a storm ravaged side of the Pacific ocean. Who would want to traverse very dangerous waters?  

  • Jake

    Treasure hunting is the name of the game and that is the real purpose of apeco.To those who considered Yamashita treasure still a myth,the actions of the Angaras to the said eco project will served as a wake-up call.I challenge the good senator Angara and the rest of its co-sponsors,to justify why they constucted an airstrip at the middle oa a jungle?What purpose does it served?If they insist it is for the benefit of the people of Aurora then I can easily proved otherwise.I have in my posession a Japanese treasure indicating its location now covered by apeco.In fact we did some initial exploration in 1987 with positive results.Since it needs a huge amount of logistics to operate we temporalily shelved the project.what is now shocking is that the airstrip is exactly at the same area of the buried treasure.A coinsidence or purposedly done.Why they need a cover-up?The Casiguran treasure is second biggest Yamashita treasure buried in the Phil..If we rely on the interpretation of the map as well as history,it is 3 warship load of treasures.Thats why they concocted the idea of an eco zone to justify the ejection of people around the area so as to keep it secret especialy when they are already tranporting the said treasures out of the country.
    I am exposing this to the public for the goverment to act and claim its 75 percent share sufficiently enough to feed and give basic services to the filipino people for years.I also decided to go on public because I think its one way to serve and to show to the Almighty my gratitude in extending my life.I am a 4th stage colon cancer survivor.
    To prove the veracity of my contention,I’m reiterating my appeal to Fr. Jose Francisco Talaban,to contact any Filipino priest preferably assigned at Holy Family chrch in Cerritos,Ca,usa,to coordinate with me so I can him the said treasure map and other no. (roaming) 0927-473-1212 text only.
    To all denizens: we must close-ranks to unmasked apeco for the benefit and for the upliftment of the lives of the Filipino people.I’ll be going all the way for this crusade.Mabuhay kayo.

  • elizabeth

    The West Philippine Sea will never be solely under Chinese control as indicated by recent pronouncement of the US government hence it is out of line to even consider it as a prop to justify the continuity of APECO. In fact it should be a challenge for us to work with contending nations to share and maximize use of resources aided by long neglected scientific investigations. Again we believe that actual and realistic technical considerations must govern the decision to fund this zone and not the sole pronouncement of Angara who is doggedly in pursuit  of it for reasons not supported by facts. The arguments raised against the project by the natives in Aurora Province and supported by able and conscientious politicians including the church will need to be further investigated. Tama na ang palakasan sa gobyerno na walang habas na puhunan ni Angara sa mahabang panahon. Labanan natin ang mga dynasty upang tumuwid ang ating landas sa kinabukasan.

  • rod69

    Ah Nostradamus pala itong si Angara. Akalain mong nahulaan nyang haharangan ng mga Tsino ang West Philippine Sea at magkakaroon ng “tollgate”! PNoy, binabalewala ni Edong lahat ng effort mo na paghandaan at labanan ang China, at parang sinasabing i-surrender mo na lang ang Scarborough at Spratlys. Pag sangkaterbang budget nga naman at raket ang pinag-uusapan lahat ng palusot sasabihin. Laway lang ang puhunan ni Senador ah. Aanhin mo ang sobrang yaman Edong? Mahina ka na rin, may mga sakit at malapit nang tumuloy sa huling hantungan…  

  • Chloroform

    let us hope that APECO will not turn out to be a “white elephant” that the government has to subsidize…

    • kismaytami

      It is already a white elephant. A place where tax pesos from the people are dumped.

  • Drachir Metal

    And you ganun nalang at PAPAYAG ANG PILIPINAS?OK kalang Angara?

  • Bobby Espedilla

    Ganyan talaga magpaunlad ng lugar nauuna ang infrastructure bago pumasok ang investors. Ano ba gusto nyo magka investors agad dyan sa Aurora na wala namang infrastructure? Ano palagay nyo sa investors hilo! Ituloy ang industrialization sa Aurora at mamuhunan tyo para sa kaunlaran. Eto na ang hinihintay nating kaunlaran sa kanayunan magandang programa eto. Ang hindi lang maganda sa sinabi ni Sen. Angara parang pumayag na ang Pilipinas na controlin ng China ang Kalayaan Island. Huwag mong idahilan yan Mr. Senator mawawalan ka ng taga suporta para ipagpatuloy ang APECO mas importante ang sovereign ng bansa kaysa APECO. Tandaan mo Sen. Angara itatayo ang APECO hindi dahil sa macocontrol na ng China ang West Phil. Sea kundi itatayo ang APECO para sa kaunlaran ng ating bansa.

  • unokritiko

    angara is counting eggs as chicken which is not yet hatched.
    I believe it is quite real if one egg is hatched before he speak about this matter burham rise.
    illogical reasoning !!!!

  • wakats

    Ed angara’s view is right and far-reaching.  Once the bidding on Benham Rise oil resources begins, the importance of the freeport in Casiguran will gain prominence and underscores the validity of the creation of Apeco.

    Seismic surveys on the Benham Rise have shown potential oil and natural gas deposits in commercial quantity and four (4) international oil giant companies have shown interest in the area. (wikipedia)  


  • J

    Polit-dynasty kahit ano angulo tingnan. Hahanap talaga ng rason para maituloy ang pet project para may gatas sila habang buhay.

  • Dong

    F*ck You Angara you are not Filipino you are Chinese because you are not depending the West Philippine Sea are you not ashamed in your President..your president are trying to depend what is yours but what did you say.  “They claim even our Kalayaan [group of islands] as part of their
    [territory] and they have issued a regulation that they can board any
    ship that enters that area,” Angara said.”

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