Aurora-based groups want P1 budget for Apeco

AURORA based groups opposed to the ambitious Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port (Apeco) said the Angara dynasty pet project in Casiguran, Aurora deserves a P 1 budget next year.

The groups issued the statement as the Senate conduct deliberations on the proposed P 353-million budget for Apeco next year.

The groups include the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the Maria Aurora based Panlalawigan Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Aurora (Pamana), the Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and the umbrella group Resist Apeco, Defend Aurora Movement.

The one peso budget should be divided among Senator Edgardo Angara who should get 50 centavos for acting as chief of the Angara sydnicate, while 25 centavos each for Aurora Gov. Bella Angara-Castillo and Rep. Sonny Angara for doing support roles to this unacceptable Aquino-PPP driven project in Aurora province,” the group said.

This year, budget released for Apeco was only P 332.5 million, a far cry from the P 3 billion previously asked by the Angaras to jumpstart the big ticket infranstructure projects of Apeco. Pamalakaya and other groups claimed partial victory with the rejection of the P 3 billion budget for 2012.

The groups urged the chair of the 124-member House Committee on Appropriation to reject the P 353 billion asked by Apeco project holders, a P 20.5 million hike compared to 2012 budget for Apeco.

They argued the APECO project is a total menace to the rights to land of the farmers, even fisherfolk and other sectors residing on the affected barangays of Casiguran.

They urged congressmen to take into account those generations of farmers who have been cultivating lands under President Manuel Quezon’s Proclamation 467 and Proclamation 723 of Governor-general Frank Murphy during the American occupation, and they too are objects of landgrabbing and displacement.

To fast track the eviction of farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous communities opposed to Apeco project, the proponents employ the military under the 48th Infantry Battalion, Bravo Company to harass the opposition to Apeco and create a culture of fear among the residents. The military base in barangay halls and blend with residents to serve their purpose for Apeco project.

It said a case in point took place in Brgy. Esteves, where a PENRO’s official known as Miña harassed an elderly peasant woman when he arrived with armed police on February 10, 2010 and coerced farmer residents to vacate their farms. Miña also poked a gun at a woman on March 11, 2008 at Brgy. Dibet.
Groups opposed to Apeco project asserted that the project is nothing but a recipe for destruction.

They said the mad rush for another corporate onslaught in the form of free port has already triggered a campaign of landgrabbing, mass deception of people, en masse displacement of rural people from their main source of livelihood and communities and running crimes of human rights violations and political persecution in Casiguran and other nearby areas covered by this ambitious project of the Angara clan.

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