Central and Northeastern Luzon officials manifested full support to Aurora ecozone

by Jason de Asis on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 8:59am

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, January 15, 2011–The Central Luzon and Northeastern Luzon governors, congressmen and economic development managers have manifested their full support to the controversial Aurora Special Economic Zone (APECO) despite criticisms from militant non-government organizations, saying that it will produce an economic “domino effect” in their respective provinces.


APECO deputy administrator Ramon Fernando told newsmen that among those who voiced support to the ecozone were Quezon Gov. David Suarez, Quezon first district Rep. Mark Enverga, Quirino Gov. Junie Cua and Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia.  


“Aurora ecozone is pioneering sustainable development in economic zones and will catalyze development in its neighboring provinces of Aurora, which used to be only a sub-province of Quezon,” Suarez said, describing APECO as a unique and long overdue development project for provinces situated along the eastern seaboard.


Suarez said that those leading the opposition are obstructing progress for the people of this part of Luzon for personal gain. “They are being selfish, they only think of themselves,” he added.


Enverga of the first district of Quezon said that APECO will complement and enhance Aurora’s anti-poverty and development programs, adding that it will open up new jobs, and improve the skills of the labor force in adjoining areas including northern Quezon which embraces his congressional district.


Enverga pointed out that the ecozone will trigger unprecedented growth yet to be seen in the region and he urged the political leaders of Central Luzon and Northern Luzon to rally behind APECO.


“We are finally being given an opportunity for growth, we should not let it go to waste,” he said.


Quirino Gov. Cua said that his province supports the ecozone because he believes that it will help uplift alleviate their lives and it will not only focus development from the western seaboard.


“Maawa naman sila sa amin (They should take pity on us). We have been left out for so long. Now that we finally have APECO, some people seem intent to see it fall to our detriment and at our expense,” said Cua, who heads the Regional Development Council for Region 2.


Gov. Garcia said Apeco will be a boom for thriving agriculture and fisheries-based communities in Aurora and in the three regions covering the provinces of Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija. It will also support mariculture, dairy industry, coco coir and renewable energy projects. 


Garcia, head of the RDC for Central Luzon, said it’s high time that areas long neglected in terms of infrastructure development catch up on economic growth and job creation. “APECO will link Bataan to Clark, Subic and Tarlac and it will establish vital coast-to-coast connection between northeast and central Luzon,” he said.


Economic managers in the three (3) regions said that the seaport planned for Casiguran Bay will open up trade and business from the Pacific countries in Asia, Australia and America and that APECO’s prime location makes it a promising logistics hub for Taiwan, Korea, Tokyo and Sydney.                   


Fernando said that APECO is projected to cover 13,000 hectares in Casiguran and is poised to become the country’s first economic zone along the Pacific coast. As a special economic zone, it will host industrial and commercial zones, a seaport and an airport that will usher in a new era of progress for Luzon’s economic growth centers.


Sen. Edgardo Angara, who formulated the creation of Apeco through legislation along with Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, stressed that APECO stands unique among the 200 economic zones in the country as it was built to be thoroughly sustainable and eco-friendly, with a one megawatt solar power plant that will generate electricity to 1,000 homes.


APECO intends to create a fully industrialized green community that will bring in investments, generate jobs, support quality education and protect land and marine biodiversity. (Jason de Asis)


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