[In the news] Aurora economic zone a threat to people’s livelihood, say farmers, fishers -INQUIRER.net

Aurora economic zone a threat to people’s livelihood, say farmers, fishers.

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 20, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Indigenous people, farmers and fisherfolk have turned to the Commission on Human Rights to get their voices heard in their struggle against the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO) project, which they said has been threatening to displace them, remove their sources of livelihood and disrupt their peaceful lives.

The groups asked the CHR for help and called on the national officials to halt the APECO project and not to allocate any funding for it.

CHR Chairman Loretta Rosales said that the agency’s own team found disheartening developments in Aurora, adding she would ask the commission en banc to urge Congress to repeal the law creating the APECO because of the human rights violations attendant to its establishment.

Rosales said the CHR would investigate allegations of forcible displacement, fraud and other human rights violations, and would participate in the judicial review of APECO’s constitutionality as an amicus curiae.

She also plans to write to Governor Bellaflor Angara Castillo and the Senate and House leaders to inform them about the concerns of the province’s residents.

In a press conference, Rosales cited the findings of the CHR team that joined an international solidarity mission to Aurora, including the apparent displacement of communities, the vilification of the project’s critics and the lack of information about the status and programs of APECO.

“The objections of the community to APECO cannot just be brushed aside. The perception that the project carries an adverse economic and environmental impact is a fundamental issue that must first be considered before the project goes full blast,” Rosales said.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

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