THE SANGGUNIAN STAND AGAINST THE APECO LEGISLATION
In 2007, the Congress passed the Republic Act No. 9490 or the Aurora Special Economic Zone Act(ASEZA) through the efforts of Senator Edgardo Angara, Congressman Juan Edgardo Angara, andGovernor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo. In 2010, this act was amended and renamed into the AuroraPacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO), expanding its geographical scope from500 hectares to more than 12,000 hectares. The APECO aims to establish the Philippines’ firstPacific Coast-located economic center, seeking “to promote tourism and rake in investments”
through measures that shall “effectively attract legitimate and productive foreign investments” whilesimultaneously advancing industrial, economic and social developments in the country by generating jobs, improving the quality of living conditions, and increasing individual and family income.
This act brings to the fore a number of important concerns. Firstly, stakeholders assert thatdue consultative processes were not carried out. Numerous communities and local governments in Aurora were not democratically involved; even Representative Angara himself, in a meeting withstakeholders, admitted to the lack of consultation.Secondly, farmers, indigenous people, and other stakeholders within the geographical scopeof the economic zone will be forced to give up their lands. This is not only an issue of removal fromtheir areas of livelihood and relocation into housing settlements but also a national concern of foodsecurity as well. According to the research conducted by the Bataris Foundation Inc., the town of Casiguran “would lose an annual average of 5,000 metric tons of
and 12.4 million coconuts”
should the project be continued. Thirdly, this also is an issue of national patrimony. Foreign corporations are prioritized overdomestic production, such that instead of initiating efforts to strengthen and aid the country’sagricultural sector, the pursuit of attracting foreign investors may accrue capital and infrastructurebut it will be at the expense of our local producers. If there is any way that the port can bedeveloped that still keeps the concerns of the local communities in mind, then it would be gladly welcomed but it would be unethical to hastily rush into developing this area without carefully taking into account the short- and long-term gains of this project.
APECO – The Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority
. http://www.edangara.com/apeco/ (accessedOctober 1, 2012
Aurora Special Economic Zone Act of 2007. http://www.senate.gov.ph/republic_acts/ra%209490.pdf
Rouchelle Dinglasan, “Groups Urge Supreme Court to Declare APECO Unconstitutional.”
May 21,2012 (accessed October 1, 2012)