MANILA, Nov. 30, 2010â€”A Catholic priest in the prelature of Infanta remains very concerned over the fate of the residents who are affected in the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco).
Fr. Jose Francisco Talaban, a parish priest in Bianoan, a more serious problem is likely to occur if the operation of the project will not be stopped the soonest.
Most of the residents, majority of them indigenous people, fear of losing their ancestral lands as they claimed that they were not even consulted that an economic zone would be put in their area.
Talaban said many fishermen are also anxious that the free port zone would result in environmental degradation at the marine life-rich Casiguran bay.
â€œAgain, we are appealing to the government to suspend the budget (of the project),â€ said Talaban in a forum Tuesday.
Aside from the non-consultation on the eco-zone, the priest also reported alleged widespread human rights violations and displacement of residents in the projectâ€™s impact zone.
Last June, Talaban escaped unhurt when unidentified men strafed the rectory of his convent. The attack, he claimed, was tied to his lobbying against the ecozone. (CBCPNews)