One hundred twenty marchers, composed of farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples from the town of Casiguran in the northern Philippine province of Aurora are about to complete their 320-kilometer walk to Metro Manila on December 10, Human Rights Day, to personally meet the President and raise their concerns over the disastrous impacts on their communities of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO), which they have been protesting.
The group began their march dubbed “Lakad Katarungan, Lakad Matuwid na Daan” (walk for justice, walk for the straight path, in reference to the President’s campaign pledge of good governance) 15 days ago on November 24 with the support of “Task Force anti-APECO,” a multi-sectoral coalition of farmers organizations NGOs, students, church workers, agrarian reform and human rights activists, among others. PAKISAMA, an AFA member in the Philippines, is a co-convenor of the task force.
After meeting with supporters at different stop-over places in Metro Manila, they will proceed to the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, where they will join a press conference, mass, candle lighting ceremony, photo exhibit, and spend the night before finally heading to the President’s office in Malacanang on December 11.
The lands and livelihoods of more than 3,000 families from the town of Casiguran, Aurora, have been threatened by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) since 2010.
APECO is a 12,923-hectare special economic zone which has been shepherded by Senator Edgardo Angara, Congressman Juan Edgardo Angara and Governor Bella Angara-Castillo through the passage of R.A. 9490 in 2007, and expanded twenty-four times over by R.A. 10083 in 2010.
(Photo Credit: Veejay Villafranca)
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