PRESS RELEASE: 9 May 2010
Farmers, fisher folk and indigenous peoples displaced by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO) drew support from key sectors when members of Casiguran’s Task Force Anti-APECO visited Manila on May 6, 2010.
Farmer Victor Convicto of Piglas-Casiguran-Task Force Anti-APECO with Dumagat representative Ryan Francisco and Casiguran parish priest Fr. Joefran Talaban expressed confidence that the next administration will junk RA 10083 after a meeting with representatives from government, the Church and other organizations in Manila. RA 100873, which recently lapsed into law, expands the scope of the project pushed by Senator Edgardo Angara, Rep. Sonny Angara and Governor Bella Angara-Castillo.
“More people are finding out about the violations against human rights and other laws on local government, agrarian, reform, fisheries, and the false promises of economic growth which endanger the welfare of indigenous peoples and the environment,” Convicto said.
He added that they raised greater public awareness of its adverse impact on national interest. While in Manila, the group had positive dialogues with representatives of Congress, Senate, civil society, and the possibly the country’s next president, as they personally delivered a letter of protest against RA 10083 to all candidates at each of their campaign headquarters.
“Most are skeptical of the benefits being aggressively promoted by those behind the project. They understood that destroying our farms and fishing grounds would have negative effects on agricultural productivity and food security,” he said.
According to Convicto, they shared similar reservations against RA 10083 due to the loss of livelihood for majority of Casiguran’s population reliant on these industries. Another concern is channeling taxpayers’ money and already scarce public funds to the APECO in favor of private interests, in addition to the limited authority of national and local governments in the area.
“With their help, we will continue our fight,” the group said.
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Fr. Edwin Gariguez
CBCP-NASSA ( Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace )
Tel no. 09228348248