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Nation

Anti-Aurora ecozone groups eye TRO

- Manny Galvez -

Aurora Pacific Special Econo­mic Zone – Critics and oppositors of the controversial special economic zone are eyeing to file a suit to stop the government from fully developing the project, the only one of its kind in this side of the Pacific.

Fernando Sabino, secretary-general of the Promotion of Church People’s Response, warned that they would file a temporary restraining order against the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone Authority next month to stop developments around the ecozone area. “We are preparing a case against Apeco and its proponents,” Sabino said.

The PCPR is part of a solidarity mission which went to the province in late August to investigate the alleged gun attack on Fr. Joefran Talaban, a staunch anti-Apeco advocate. The attack was tied to his lobbying against the ecozone.            

Aside from the PCPR, the solidarity mission was composed of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines, PCPR, Ecumenical Voice, human rights alliance Karapatan, Pambansang Lakas ng Mamamalakaya, the Parish of the Nuestra Señora de Salvacion and Multi-Sectoral Action Group.

The mission released its initial findings supposedly unearthing widespread human rights violations, non-consultation on the ecozone and displacement of residents in the project’s impact zone.

Ramon Fernando, Apeco deputy administrator, said they welcome the filing of a TRO against the ecozone project. “We welcome it because it will bring into the open the reality about Apeco and its tremendous impact on the lives of Aurorans,” he said.

Fernando said the anti-Apeco groups cannot deny that the establishment of the ecozone has brought unprecedented progress into the lives of the people in Aurora, particularly Casiguran which houses the project.

Fernando said because of the ecozone, the capital town of Baler and Casiguran are now just two hours apart due to the Baler-Casiguran Road. Before, travel in the two towns would last for eight hours.

He added that employment opportunities now await those in the impact zone of the ecozone such as the indigenous Dumagats who will soon be tapped as forest rangers, tour guides and sea marshals.

APECO AURORA PACIFIC ECONOMIC ZONE AUTHORITY AURORA PACIFIC SPECIAL ECONO BALER AND CASIGURAN BALER-CASIGURAN ROAD ECOZONE ECUMENICAL VOICE FERNANDO FERNANDO SABINO JOEFRAN TALABAN
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