SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga- Groups opposed to Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port Authority (Apeco) project yesterday urged Pres. Aquino to certify as urgent a bill calling for the repeal of a law that created it.
“If Pres. Aquino really wants social justice and agrarian liberation to reign in Aurora, he must correct a major blunder by certifying the bill as urgent and call on congressmen and senators to cross party lines in pursuit of truth, justice and accountability,” said Fernando Hicap, chair of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakayang Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).
In a joint statement, Pamalakaya, PanlalawigangAlyansangmga Magbubukidsa Aurora (Pamana), AlyansangMagbubukidsaGitnangLuzon (AMGL) and umbrella alliance Resist Apeco, Defend Aurora Movement urged the President’s backing for House Bill No. 5879 or An Act Repealing Republic Act No. 10083 otherwise known as Aurora Economic Zone and Free Port Act of 2010.
The bill was authored and filed last February 20 by Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano upon consultation with affected sectors in Casiguran, Aurora, Hicap said.
Hicap dared the “father and son tandem of Sen. Edgardo Angara and Rep. Sonny Angara to let go their narrow economic and political interest in Apeco, support the repeal Apeco bill and allow the people to collectively enjoy the bounty and resources of Casiguran in the name of national interest and sentiment of the people.”
“The passage of HB No. 5879 will stop the landgrabbing of 12,427 hectares of prime agricultural lands in San Ildefonso peninsula.
He said the passage of repeal Apeco bill will spare 5,430 residents in five barangays and will prevent the dislocation of 22,043 residents of Casiguran and nearby towns, mostly indigenous people, fisherfolk and farmers,” he said.
He said Mariano’s bill would also save 493 hectares of productive rice farms from conversion into industrial zones. “This corrective measure is legally, politically and morally necessary,” he added.
Mariano’s bill argued that “Republic Act No. 10083 has violated numerous Constitutional provisions and other laws,” including the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 and the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997.
The bill also noted an alleged anomaly in the Apeco law that authorizes the Aurora Ecozone to “borrow funds from foreign sources and incur indebtedness without need of the concurrence of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).”
“Also, the right to due process of affected sectors guaranteed under the 1987 Philippine Constitution was also violated as the people of Casiguran, Aurora were not consulted before the passage of the laws for the establishment of the Aurora Ecozone,” Mariano also said.
Mariano also insisted that “the railroading of the law creating the Aurora ecozone at the House of Representatives and the Senate is another violation of their due process right.
The compulsory coverage of affected sectors’ properties constitute taking without due process of law and without payment of just compensation.”