Militants tag PNoy as “grandfather of false hopes and empty promises”

FOR ignoring the collective appeal of farmers, fishermen and indigenous people to scrap the ambitious Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port Authority (Apeco) project, critics of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III  tagged him as the ‘grandfather of false hopes and empty promises’.

Anti-Apeco groups led by the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis party list, Panlalawigang Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Aurora (Pamana) and Resist Apeco, Defend Aurora Movement said President Aquino merely treated the protesting folks of Casiguran, Aurora into a roller coaster ride characterized by false hopes and empty premises.

“The appeal of the farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people to President Aquino is loud and clear, definite and defined. But Mr. Aquino, the King of Yellow Politics and political accommodation in this country chose the narrow interest of the ruling Angara dynasty in Aurora and his own obsession to Public Private Partnership rather than uphold the collective sentiment and national interest of ordinary people in and out of Aurora province,” said Fernando Hicap, chair of Pamalakaya fisherfolk group.

Anti-Apeco groups were totally dismay with the position of Malacanang to retain the Apeco project, including the P 353 million budget Congress allocated this year for that he dismissed as a grand white elephant project in Central Luzon.

“The stand taken by President Aquino which is to subject Apeco for review is a misnomer. The real position of Malacanang is to retain Apeco in the name of PPP  and to assure the gangland of Angaras that the project will continue by hook and by crook and that the review is just a plot to calm down the protesting folks in Casiguran,” the group noted.

In a dialogue yesterday with over hundred farmers, fishermen and indigenous people who marched for 18 straight days from Casiguran to Malacanang, the President said the Apeco project will not be scrapped, however, the Chief Executive said a special review body will be formed to conduct a review of the controversial project which had been the subject of strong opposition since 2007.

A lawyer group serving as legal counsel of rural based groups who questioned the constitutionality of laws that created the ambitious Aurora Pacific Economic and Free port Authority (Apeco) project in Casiguran supported the calls of Pamalakaya and other anti-Apeco groups for Aquino to veto the P 353-million budget allocated for Apeco next year.

Atty. Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) said the President can make use of his line item veto prerogative as a constitutional mean to stop the proponents of Apeco from pushing this hard sell project in the town of Casiguran.

Pastores, counsel of Pamalakaya, Anakpawis, Pamana., Resist Apeco, Defend Aurora Movement and Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gintang Luzon (AMGL), filed a petition before the Supreme Court on October 11, 2011 questioning the constitutionality of laws that led to the creation of Apeco.

In their 110-page petition filed on October 11, 2011  Pamalakaya chairperson Fernando Hicap, Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Resist Apeco, Defend Aurora Movement convener Salvador France, AMGL chairperson Joseph Canlas and Pamana vice president Elmer Dayson asserted before the high tribunal that laws which created Apeco– namely Republic Act 9490 or the Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority (AZESA act of 2007) and the amendatory law RA 10083 or the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port Act of 2010 were unconstitutional.

The high court has yet to issue a final ruling on the petition against Apeco, although respondents had already been asked on and submitted their respective response to the petition regarding the constitutionality of Apeco.

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