Press Release
November 11, 2010


In today's Senate Finance Committee hearing on the budget of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO), Senator Edgardo J. Angara said the discussions were a positive development as it gave deserved attention to the issues of concerned parties.

"We welcome this hearing and we are grateful for the participation of all parties concerned. It gave a chance for APECO to share its position as well as to clarify any misunderstanding and lingering doubts on the part of its opposers," he said.

The hearing was attended by APECO officials, members of the community, heads of Barangays, indigenous peoples (IPs) and local officials. Each resource person was given a chance to air his/her concerns regarding the major development project.

Angara emphasized that the goal of APECO is to improve the livelihood of the people of Casiguran and nearby areas, as well as preserving its rich environment.

"APECO will pave the way for sustainable green industries that will give jobs and livelihood to Casiguranins and IPs. It will also preserve the natural environment. Mariculture, dairy, and coco coir are only a few examples of the industries being set up, which will employ locals and give alternative livelihood and additional income to the community," he said.

He also stressed that there will be no displacement whatsoever of residents and IPs, contrary to allegations by APECO's opposers.

"The manner of the resettlement is purely voluntary. It is just and humane. Unlike what APECO's opposers claim, nobody is being forced to move. APECO will not affect the Dumagat settlements. I wish to disabuse the minds of APECO's opposers that it will take away people's livelihood, when in fact it will provide them better living conditions and more sustainable livelihood," he said.

APECO has designed a relocation and housing plan for the residents, allocating 23 hectares of land composed of 462 residential lots, 150 sq. m. each, elevated on stilts, with 36-40 sqm living space.

A community called "Nayon Kalikasan" is being put together with the support of Pag-Ibig and the National Housing Authority.

APECO through its community organizers holds constant dialogues with the Dumagat chieftains as well as community consultations with residents.

Its community relations focus on the preservation of culture and the arts, livelihood training and harmonious relationship with the Casiguranins & indigenous people.

It has also undertaken social responsibility programs such as heritage mapping, feeding, medical and dental missions, and cultural and youth development programs.

Several locators have already shown great interest in APECO, such as Agro-industrial/Aquaculture, Domestic Air Transport Services, Eco-tourism Enterprises, Logistics, Shuttle and Cargo Services, Property Development & Real Estate, Port Management, Renewable Energy Providers, Urban Planners and Wood Processors.

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