President Aquino agrees to have APECO Law reviewed

December 11, 2012 11:24 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 11 — In a bid to end discussions questioning its economic viability and appease the close to 3,000 families from Casiguran, Aurora calling for its repeal, President Benigno S. Aquino III agreed to have the APECO (Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport Authority) Law reviewed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

In a dialogue held at the San Jose Seminary gym at the Ateneo De Manila campus in Quezon City on Tuesday, the President invited some 120 farmers, fisher folks, indigenous peoples, and other residents of said province to provide any evidence against the APECO Law and assured swift action on it.

“Ibigay niyo sa amin ang ebidensiya at hahanapin namin ang lahat na dapat humarap,” the President said.

The farmers, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, and other residents of the province had marched to Manila to ask the President to repeal the APECO Law which was created under Republic Act 9490 in 2007 and amended in 2010 through RA 10083.

They claim that the law violates existing laws and policies, including the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the Local Government Code and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, as the law covers more than 12,000 hectares of ancestral lands of the Agta Dumagat.

The President said he hopes to hear initial findings on the APECO Law in one week’s time. He pointed out that while he agreed to have the APECO Law reviewed, he still wants to see the development of the Philippines' pacific side to prosper.

He appealed to all concerned to have an "open mind" in order for discussions on the APECO Law and parties concerned to finally reach an understanding to the controversial measure.

"Pasensiya na po kayo, alam naman po ninyo na marami tayong problemang saklaw at kung makiki-dialogo ako sa inyo pero sarado na ang isip niyo, para na rin tayo nagsayang ng oras," the President said.

“Yung lahat po ng pinangako ko sa inyo ay mangyayari at nangyayari na sa kasalukuyan at babalikan ko po kayo ‘pag natapos na ‘yung mga pag-aaral na ipinangako ko sa inyo para malaman lahat. Kung meron man tayong pending na kailangan ng desisyon, hindi pa napagde-desisyunan,” the President said.

“Ngayon, ang mga imbestigasyon ho, nandito ang mga kaukulang miyembro ng Gabinete…kung ‘yung consultation o concurrence hindi nangyari—ay talagang ipipilit po nating mangyari… at tatapusin lahat ng imbestigasyon sa lalong madaling panahon,” he added. (PNA)

LAM/PCOO/SSC

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