Dear President Noynoy Aquino,
The Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport (APECO) was established by RA 10083 over 12,923 hectares of productive agricultural lands and natural forests in Casiguran, Aurora.
THE TRUTHS ARE:
The APECO Law was passed without consultation with the people of Casiguran.
The APECO Law was passed without approval of the local government unit of Casiguran—a violation of the Local Government Code (RA 7160) and the APECO Law itself.
APECO displaces fisherfolk without provision for relocation and livelihood—a violation of the Fisheries Code (RA 8550).
APECO intrudes into ancestral lands of the Agta Dumagats without their “Free, Prior and Informed Consent”—a violation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (RA 8371).
APECO’s proposed infrastructure and industries will destroy at least 300 hectares of productive, irrigated rice lands thereby endangering food security in Aurora and the pristine waters of Casiguran Bay—a violation of the CARPer Law (RA 9700).
APECO disregards the rights of affected tillers of 110 hectares of land covered by the CARP (RA 6657).
Since 2008, about P500 million of the people’s money has already been released to APECO without any COA audit of its expenditures—a violation of the Government Auditing Code (PD 1445).
Industries Development Corporation (IDC), the only registered investor in APECO owned by Mr. Joselito Ong, asked for exemption from DENR DMC 2008-03 prohibiting commercial cutting of natural forests in Aurorain order to implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Province of Aurora and IDC, signed by Governor Angara-Castillo, Senator Edgardo Angara, Congressman Sonny Angara and Mr. Ong. Mr. Ong is one of the 5 Board members of APECO.
APECO already paid P50 million out of a committed P120 million to Mr. Joselito Ong (IDC) supposedly for the purchase of Mr. Ong’s logging rights–a potential violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).
APECO paid more than P650,000 per hectare for the coconut land of Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Benjamin Miña, yet it paid only P45,000 per hectare for the rice lands of those who have already lost their homes–a potential violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).
Mangroves have already been cleared to give way to APECO – a potential violation of environment policies in PD 705 and DENR DMC 2008-03.
The APECO Law was passed without the benefit of a full feasibility study and of the required inputs from the affected communities.The bill, which merely lapsed into law, was sponsored by Senator Edgardo Angara in the Senate and Congressman Sonny Angara in the House of Representatives, with the endorsement of Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo. Congressman Angara and Governor Angara-Castillo presently sit in the APECO Board, while Senator Angara admits he acts as CEO of APECO.
President, they are so powerful and we are powerless against them. Hindi pinapakinggan ang boses ng mga maliliit. The APECO is a virtual “republic” with more prerogatives and powers than any government corporation (GOCC) in the country today.
Who will benefit from the APECO? Illegal loggers, internet gambling operators, smugglers, land speculators? And who will get hurt? Farmers, small landowners, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, the environment, the national government coffers.
Tanong ni Lola Luz Gonzales, edad 79 at magsasaka, “Bakit kami papaalisin ng APECO sa lupa na pinagyaman namin?” Sabi ni Victor Abajon, isang katutubo, ang buhay bago APECO ay “mahusay, matahimik at malaya.” Mr. President, please stop funding the serial plunder of Casiguran. Please listen to the voiceless people of Aurora.
Maraming salamat, Ginoong Pangulo. Asahan ninyo na kasama kami sa pagtataguyod sa daang matuwid.
PRELATURE OF INFANTA
MOST REV. ROLANDO TRIA TIRONA
Bishop of the Prelature of Infanta
MOST REV. JULIO XAVIER LABAYEN
Bishop-Emeritus of the Prelature of Infanta
Vicariate of St. Anthony de Padua, Casiguran, Aurora
FR. CEFERINO VALENZUELA, JR.
St. Isidore Parish. Dinalungan, Aurora
FR. JOSE FRANCISCO TALABAN
Nuestra Senora de Salvacion Parish. Bianoan, Casiguran, Aurora
FR. MIGUEL FLORO AVENILLA
St. Anthony de Padua Parish. Casiguran, Aurora
FR. JOSELITO CRUZ, FLP
St. Joseph the Worker Parish. Dilasag, Aurora
Vicariate of San Luis Obispo
FR. NILVON CO VILLANUEVA
DEACON IAN CHRIS BALISNOMO, FLP
San Luis Obispo Parish. Baler, Aurora
FR. NOEL VALENCIA
San Luis Rey Parish. San Luis, Aurora
FR. ISRAEL GABRIEL
St. Vincent Ferrer Parish. Maria, Aurora
Social Action Director
FR. PETE MONTALLANO, OFM
St. Patrick Parish. Dingalan, Aurora
Director for Indigenous People’s Apostolate
FR. ANDRES LUMASAC
St. Therese of the Infant Jesus Parish. Dipaculao, Aurora
FR. ERLITO POBLETE
Ina ng Sambayanan ng mga Dukha Parish. Quirino, Maria, Aurora
All five vicariates and 22 parishes all over Aurora and Quezon are opposed to APECO
IP COMMUNITIES AND PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATION IN AURORA
MAYOR REYNALDO BITONG, Mayor, Casiguran
DOMINADOR DELLOSA, Barangay Captain, San Ildefonso
REGINA ENERIA, Chieftain, Dipontian, San Ildefonso
VITA BANAYAD, Chieftain, Kasapsapan
JAVAR TULIO, Chieftain, Disigisaw
RENATO PRADO, Tribal leader, Dipontian
MARINA PRADO, Tribal leader
OLIVER BECASAN, Tribal Council
ALFONSO VAN ZIJL and the Bataris Formation Center
ELMER GONZALES and the Bicol-Ilocano Casiguranon Farmers Association (BICFA), 124 members
REV. FR. ISRAELITO GABRIEL and the Diocesan Social Action Center Of The Prelature Of Infanta
EDUARDO PUJEDA and the Justice And Peace Action Group (JPAG)
DELIA O. SEVELLENO and the Kalusugan Lingkod Sa Aurora (KALINGA)
VICENTE CONVICTO and the Pinag-Isang Lakas (Piglasca), 250 members
SANNY ALCANTARA and the Parish Pastoral Council Of Nuestra Senora De La Salvacion Parish
Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano (MSK) leaders from the Vicariate of Aurora
REY AND REMY ALCANTARA
BEN DE PABLO
CARINA DE PABLO
MOST REV. ANTONIO LEDESMA, D.D
Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro
MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS INIGUEZ, D.D
Bishop of Kalookan
MOST REV. TEDORO BACANI, D.D
Bishop-Emeritus of Novaliches
MOST REV. BRODERICK PABILLO, D.D
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
National Director of CBCP-NASSA, Co-convenor of SULONG CARPER
ATTY. CHRISTIAN MONSOD
Co-convenor of SULONG CARPER
COMM. CAMILO SABIO
Legal Counsel, CBCP-NASSA
SR. ANGIE VILLANUEVA, R.C.
Chairperson , Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines
REP. ARLENE BAG-AO
REP. WALDEN BELLO
former REP. RISA HONTIVEROS
REV. FR. EDWIN GARIGUEZ and CBCP-National Secretariat For Social Action–Justice And Peace
RENE PINEDA and the Citizens’ Organization Concerned With Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability (Cocap)
ANTONIO M. CLAPAROLS, and the Ecological Society Of The Philippines (Esp)
FR. BENNY TUAZON, MS. LOU ARSENIO and Ecology Ministry Of The Archdiocese Of Manila
JOY CHAVEZ and the Focus On The Global South
PATRIA GWEN M.L BORCENA, and the Greenresearch Environmental Research Group
BLAS TABANRANZA, JR. and the Haribon Foundation
BEMBET MADRID and the Integrated Pastoral Development Incorp.
GEORGE O. DADIVAS, and the Kupkop Kita Kabayan Foundation, Inc. (KKKFI)
SR. AIDA VELASQUEZ, OSB, and the Lingkod Tao Kalikasan
ANDY ROSALES and the Maging Tapat
MIGUEL MAGALANG and the Marinduque Council For Environmental Concerns
DENNIS CALVAN and the NGOs FOR FISHERIES REFORM (NFR)
RAUL SOCRATES BANZUELA and PAKISAMA
ROY JERUSALEM CABONEGRO and the Partido Kalikasan (PK)
PHILIPP CAMARA and the Pinatubo Party
BRO. MARTIN FRANCISCO and the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc. (SSMESI)
FR. PETE MONTALLANA and the Save Sierra Madre Network (SSMN)
RAMCY ASTOVEZA and the Tribal Center For Development Foundation Inc. (TCD)
GIGI CHUA, NOEMI TIRONA and the Consumer Rights For Safe Food
ANTHONY MARZAN and KAISAHAN
NORMITA BATUAL and BALAOD
Paralegal Volunteers Organization UP College of Law
ATTY. KOKO PIMENTEL
CONG. TEDDY BAGUILAT
REV. FR. ARCHIE CASEY, SX, Xaverian Missionary
PROF. ANGELINA GALANG, PhD. Miriam College
PROF. VICTORIA M. SEGOVIA, Miriam College
Director, Social Justice, Lay Society Of St. Arnold Janssen
Chairman, Philippine Association Of Small Coconut Farmers’ Organizations
Sisters from the College of the Holy Spirit
SR. ANNA VIRGINIA MAGPILY, SSpS
SR. GENOVEVA SALVA, SSpS
SR. VICTRICIA PASCASIO, SSpS
SR. ROSALINDA ARGOSINO, SSpS
SR. ARLENE LOBITANA, SSpS
SR. FATIMA MANDING, SSpS
SR. ARNOLD MARIA NOEL, SSpS
ELIAS F. SEGUNDO, Concerned citizen
JOSEPH PERNIA, former World Bank Director
Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 26, 2010, p. 20