Press Release
June 29, 2010


The Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority today called for an investigation on the alleged attack on a Catholic priest in Casiguran, Aurora on Saturday morning.

Fr. Jose Francisco Talaban, 43, parish priest of Nuestra Señora de la Salvacion in Barangay Bianoan, Casiguran reported that a group of unidentified armed men allegedly fired at the parish house.

As a result, Bishop Rolando Tirona of the Prelature of Infanta quickly concluded that the incident "definitely, 100 percent, had something to do with the help Father Joefran (Talaban) is giving to those affectred by the ASEZA."

In response, ASEZA Chairman-Administrator Vitaliano Sabalo denounced Tirona's precipitate accusation and called for an investigation on the alleged shooting incident.

"We are conducting a thorough investigation in coordination with the Provincial Government of Aurora, the Municipal Government of Casiguran, the local Philippine National Police and other national government agencies," said Sabalo.

"There are indeed a few oppositors to the project, despite our efforts to convince them that our only objective is to create jobs and livelihood for the people of Casiguran. We certainly do not in any way condone any illegal action or acts of violence. As a matter of policy and practice, we will continue to reach out to the communities involved in the development," he said.

ASEZA has incorporated in its plan the establishment of a resettlement/housing site for some 450 families who will somehow be affected by the development of the ecozone. This is done in close coordination with the National Housing Authority.

"ASEZA is hoping that the people affected by the development of the ecozone will have an open mind and soon realize that the project will uplift the socio-economic condition of the community," he said.

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