Protect the lands, waters and people of Casiguran from APECO
This petition had 1,409 supporters
ON NOVEMBER 24, 2012, one hundred twenty five (125) farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples, from the town of Casiguran, Aurora began marching to Manila in order to assert their firm opposition against the Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport (APECO).
APECO was established by R.A.10083 over 12,923 hectares of productive agricultural lands and natural forests in Casiguran. The affected area is home to at least three thousand (3000) farmer, fisherfolk, and indigenous families – people who have been building their lives on these lands for decades, and have walked on their last hopes to defend their home.
MR. PRESIDENT, WALANG DAANG MATUWID SA APECO.
The truths are:
APECO WAS CREATED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE OF CASIGURAN
● APECO was established without consultation with the people of Casiguran and without approval of the local government unit of Casiguran—a violation of the Local Government Code (RA 7160) and the APECO Law itself.
● The APECO Law 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 admitted in 2010 he acts as CEO of APECO.
APECO LEGALIZES LAND-GRABBING AND DISLOCATION
● APECO disregards the rights of affected tillers of 105 hectares of land covered by the CARP (RA 6657), and 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 displaces fisherfolk without provision for relocation and livelihood—a violation of the Fisheries Code (RA 8550).
APECO IS DEVASTATING THE ENVIRONMENT OF CASIGURAN
● Ten hectares of mangroves have already been cleared to give way to APECO – a clear violation of environment policies in PD 705 and DENR DMC 2008-03.
● Industries Development Corporation (IDC), the first registered investor in APECO asked for exemption from DENR DMC 2008-03 prohibiting commercial cutting of natural forests in Aurora in 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. In 2010, Mr. Ong was one of the 5 Board members of APECO.
APECO’S OPERATIONS HAVE BEEN STAINED BY GRAFT AND CORRUPTION
● APECO has paid P120 million to IDC supposedly for the purchase of its logging rights–a blatant 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, while it paid only P45,000 per hectare for the rice lands of those who have already lost their homes–a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).
APECO WASTES PUBLIC MONEY
● Since 2008, more than P518-million of the people’s money has already been released to APECO, while a number of projects which have supported APECO’s operations, such as the Casiguran Mariculture Park, remain non-operational or of dubious value. This raises the question of how sound and worthwhile are these ventures into which we are investing all of our taxpayers’ monies.
● The APECO Law was passed without the benefit of a full feasibility study and of the required inputs from the affected communities.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM APECO, MR. PRESIDENT? 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 THE SERIAL PLUNDER OF CASIGURAN. PLEASE LISTEN TO THE VOICELESS PEOPLE OF AURORA.
MR. PRESIDENT, please protect the lands, waters and people of Casiguran from APECO.
Maraming salamat, Ginoong Pangulo. Asahan ninyo na kasama kami sa pagtataguyod sa daang matuwid.
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