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Posts Tagged ‘RA 10083’

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:47:00 01/21/2011

MANILA, Philippines – Two lawmakers have come to the aid of indigenous peoples and residents in Aurora province being threatened of displacement from their lands because of development projects in the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone Freeport (APECO).

Representatives Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao and Walden Bello have filed House Resolution 417 calling on the committee on agrarian reform and the committee on national cultural communities to look into the plights of the people there imperiled by development. 

But Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara appealed to the residents to give development a chance.

“As representative, I believe these issues can be resolved amicably,” Angara said in a text message when asked to react. “I do wish they would give it a chance and some time to show what can be done for residents there.”

Angara and his father, Senator Edgardo Angara co-sponsored Republic Act No. 10083, the law that created APECO. The younger Angara and her aunt, Aurora Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, sit on the economic zone’s Board.

APECO covers more than 12,400 hectares of public and private land, including sprawling areas devoted for agriculture and tracts of ancestral lands belonging to the Agta-Dumagats, the indigenous peoples of Casiguran town. (more…)

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By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:19:00 01/18/2011

Filed Under: Justice & Rights, Regional authorities, Protest,Heavy construction, Conflicts (general), Congress, People

MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said her department would look into allegations of violations committed in the construction of the Aurora Pacific Economic and Freeport Zone (Apeco), describing testimony and evidence presented to her as apparently “extensive and complex.”

A group of farmers, fishermen, Dinagat tribe leaders and their supporters asked De Lima on Monday to help them press a case against Apeco, a pet project of Senator Edgardo Angara which cost the government at least P1 billion to build.

The group said Apeco violated various laws, including the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and Extension and Reform (Carper), Fisheries Code, Indigenous People’s Rights Acts, Government Auditing Code and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

(more…)

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By Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines – International architect Jun Palafox, running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, priests, and local leaders of Aurora have met with Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to submit their affidavits and other documents to prove that that there’s basis to file criminal charges against Senator Eduardo Angara, Rep. Sonny Angara, Aurora Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, and Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport (APECO) officials.

They claimed that there is a conflict of interest since the congressman and the governor are members of the APECO Board of Directors, while the senator was among those who penned the APECO law.

In their affidavits and other documents, the group also said it is not environmentally safe to build the APECO in a chosen location.
They added that the law creating the APECO was passed without the approval and consultation with the people of Casiguran, Aurora, which is allegedly a violation of the Local Government Code and the APECO Law itself.

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by Benjamin B. Pulta

01/18/2011

The Department of Justice has vowed to look into the complaints of farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples belonging to the Dumagat tribe and local leaders of Aurora province involving the Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport (APECO), where members of the Angara family sit as board members.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday met with an Aurora-based non-government and people’s organization calling itself the Pinag-isang Lakas ng Casiguran (Piglas-CA), that has made allegations of widespread corruption and other violations allegedly committed by Apeco.

The group accused Apeco of violations of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and Extension and Reform (Carper) law, Fisheries Code, Indigenous Peoples Right Act (IPRA), Government Auditing Code and Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as grounds for the plan to file the complaints. (more…)

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by SOPHIA M. DEDACE, GMANews.TV

01/17/2011 | 03:34 PM
(Updated 5:04 p.m.) Residents and indigenous peoples in Aurora province asked the Department of Justice on Monday to look into the alleged irregularities surrounding the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO), where members of the Angara family sit as board members. 

The locals of Casiguran town, accompanied by prominent Architect Felino Palafox Jr., accused the Angaras of wasting public funds in the creation of the 12,00-hectare economic zone in their home province.

Sen. Edgardo Angara and his son, Aurora Rep. Jun Edgardo “Sonny” Angara co-sponsored Republic Act No. 10083, the law that created APECO. The younger Angara and Aurora Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, the senator’s sister, sit on the economic zone’s Board.

Palafox, who was initially tapped to create the master plan for APECO, alleged that the Angaras violated Presidential Decree 1445 in failing to submit APECO funds to scrutiny by the Commission on Audit.

Palafox added that the Angaras pushed through with constructing the APECO infrastructure even without passing the necessary studies.

“They had no environmental impact study, land conversion study, feasibility study, seaport study, and airport study,” he said at a news briefing. (more…)

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by Gerry Geronimo


The good senator, Edgardo Angara, labored with might and mien to make it appear that all was pretty, or at least, all was well at the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone Authority (Apeza). He condescended to conduct on Nov. 11, 2010 a second hearing on the proposed budget allocation for the Apeza, just to accommodate certain issues raised against the enterprise during the first hearing. But since the Apeza was a major advocacy of the good senator, and, we must mention, also of a number in his family many of whom are holding public positions in the local and national government, it was not surprising to see a tint of self-interest in the composition of those asked to act as “resource persons.”

“Resource person” is the preferred term of current use, rather than witnesses because from these peoples’ expertise and experience the legislative body is to draw the information and guidance they need to craft the proper legislation. At the Nov. 11 hearing, the unabashedly admitted mandate of the resource persons was to make the rest of us benighted understand how beautiful a project the Apeza was.

But despite the formidable array of Angara allies conscripted into the service to stonewall those who oppose the enterprise, the operation to paint the Angara version of the truth was not entirely successful. After all, the truth is an ungovernable substance that like water seeps through every nook and cranny available until, no matter how long and tedious, it comes out into the open. Making matters difficult for the Angaras was the happy circumstance that the oppositors found their voices articulated by a community not only known but also respected nationwide for its dedication to truth and justice.

It is not very often that I find my church living up to its avowed mission to take the side of the poor, or what theologians call the preferential option for the poor, and, thus, am more than glad, now that I come across one, yield most of space today to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace’s statement about the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone. As published recently in the broadsheets, the text reads as follows:

“Anuman ang dinaranas na takot at pagharap sa panganib ni Fr. Joefran, mga magsasaka at katutubo na naninindigan at sambayanang mulat, kasama kami sa tuloy-tuloy na pagtutol sa proyektong ito [Aseza/Apeco] ng pamahalaan… Ilalaan naming ang aming mga sarili sa anumang hamon sa aming buhay pagkapari mangahulugan man ito ng sakripisyo at pag-aalay ng buhay.” (more…)

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By Atty. Reynaldo Geronimo

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

THE place is called “Casiguran,”; its name, it is said, comes from the Tagalog word “kasiguruhan” which in turn appears to be a corruption (neither pun nor fun nor, despite what follows below, satire intended) of the Spanish word “siguro” which means safety or security.

The name was well-earned, so the story continues, because in that peninsula the galleons that once upon a time plied the Manila-Mexico trade route sought safety from strong storms that sometimes deranged the otherwise sober waters of the ocean called Pacific.

But at the Philippine Senate recently, Casiguran did not provide safe harbor to someone who claim to be its son, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, from the fury of the storm stirred up by the many protesters against the budget allocation proposed for the Aurora Special Economic Zone. The venue of the disturbance was the Senate floor during the consideration last November of that portion of the budget of Trade and Industry and its attached agencies. Senator Angara was sponsor; he was interpellated by Senator Sergio Osmeña III who was articulating the concerns of the protesters.

Perhaps to serve an appropriate appetizer to make his budget proposal palatable to his colleagues, Senator Angara sought permission to run what he described as “a 7-minute video showing what Apeco is and the present state of Apeco”. But whatever may have been its true intent, the video succeeded in alerting the senators to APECO’s shortcomings. Indeed, the video seemed less than accurate. For instance, the dive sites (shown to give the impression that the site is a tourist attraction) were not all in Casiguran; as admitted by Senator Angara, “the dive sites are in Baler but some of them are in Casiguran…”. The video’s images of beaches were also deceptive. Senator Angara had to admit, “The beaches are in Baler…”. He was quick to add, in fairness, that “we did not show a beautiful bay in Casiguran called Casapsapan which I believe can compare favorably with any other beach in the country.” The query, in the minds of those listening, whether on the floor or at the gallery, is, “if Casapsapan was as great as Senator Angara would project it, why was it not put in the video itself”.

But really, those instances of a propagandist’s license were mere just minor minor. What seemed major major, though, were admissions regarding the proposal itself.

First is the real amount of money that has already been put into APECO. The total is unfathomable; but what is clear is that certain expenditures which are primarily for the project are nonetheless lodged in the expenditures for the other departments. For instance, the amounts allocated for the network of roads and bridges are part, not of the APECO budget in the Department of Trade and Industry, but part instead of the budget of the Department of Public Works and its agencies. Hence, there is really no way of knowing exactly how much money was put into good use and how much went down the drain, drained hopefully not necessarily into the pockets of those interested in maintaining the appearance of a viable project. (more…)

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