Non-Aurorans telling Aurorans what to do? It sucks.

By Jason de Asis


SENATE, OFFICE, Manila, November 23, 2010-As an Auroran, born and raised in Baler, it mystifies me how non-Aurorans and non-residents of Baler would tell us right in our faces how we should run the affairs of our province.


Outsiders–aliens if you may–have the gall to say this is how Aurora should be run when in truth and in fact, they never had any stake in its future nor took part in the hardships of the not-so-distant past which made my beloved province special today.


This is particularly nauseating when speaking of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone in Casiguran, which thanks to the Angaras and their detractors has been thrust into the limelight because of the bitter accusations and counter-accusations coming from both sides.


The issues have been trumpeted loud enough that I found it compelling to join the discussion in a fairly intellectual, objective and neutral manner as I could.


However, I soon realized that as an Auroran, I cannot go blind and ignore the inanities being peddled by so-called experts and minorities, the so-called voices in the wilderness–who profess to know everything about Apeco when they have not even gone to Aurora and experienced how it is to live in this God-forsaken land for four (4) centuries.


I remember Tito A. Porras of Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) party list whose political views are anti-communist/anti-terrorist when he reacted in some of my news write-ups in the province where he noted that the people must be analytical and must understand the development in Aurora in a wider spectrum.


“The developmental initiatives being led by the Angara(s) in the Province is a great threat to the Maoist communist movement. CPP-NPA-NDF will not allow any form of development (in any area). They follow the dictum espoused by Mao Tsetung that "poverty is bad but it is good for the revolution,” he said, adding that the Province of Aurora is very vital in the "people's protracted war" waged by the Maoist CPP-NPA-NDF.


He said that this kind of war (as protracted as it is - 41 years now!) aims to drain the country's economy and thereby creating an acute poverty mode and political conflicts. So, in order to dissuade investors, a scenario of weather instability and other issues must be cooked.


“Maoist communist and their legal fronts are experts in the "deception industry". We must, with a committed political will have to expose and to isolate these Maoist terrorists agenda!” he ended. Is it true or not?


There are two (2) coins in the real situation in the progress of the province, for pro-developments advocates, leaders who are supposed to be shepherding the faithful to have faith in God and nourish their spirituality are leading the opposition to Apeco, reminiscent of the bad old days of Father Damaso whose trademark abuses became legendary and which has become the barometer of how deviated the minds of our present crop when it comes to spiritual and how expert they are in the mundane or temporal.


My Kumpare, Bernie Rada, Radyo Natin 88.5FM anchored man and CLTV36 news correspondent’s house was bombed last Wednesday morning after he discussed several Apeco issues being sent by listeners on Radyo Natin. He just read the message coming from the pro and anti-Apeco groups then the incident happened. It was sickening. It occurred due to issues he aired. What or/and who will be next?


For pro-Apeco, spiritual leaders and moralists would even desecrate the sanctity of the Holy Week – Good Friday – when they marched from Bianoan to Casiguran in the guise of sacrifice then turning it into a protest march against Apeco earlier this year. On the catholic prospective it was timely for repent purposes.  


They have been turning the heat against Apeco, even appearing in the Senate budget hearing to register their objection to the ecozone. To make matters worse, negative reports about Apeco have been making the rounds of the newspapers, televisions and radios, thanks to all reporters whose shadows have not even made it to Aurora but who continue to churn out press reports by relying solely and entirely on the lies being peddled by the anti-Apeco groups as though these were gospel truth without bothering to validate the veracity of their press releases.


And at times, they supposedly tried to verify the authenticity of the press releases, their stories would always carry the line that they tried to get the side of the pro-Apeco groups but that they could not be contacted, their mobile phones were off or words to that effect.


I must say in all candor that with all due respect to these people, they have not been in Aurora long enough to know that the province needs all the help it can get for it to be developed and for its people to have social and economic advancement.


They never really experienced how life was in Aurora, particularly in Casiguran before Apeco came in for them to resort to one-sided commentaries to discredit the project.


I should know because I live and breathe my life there and am a living witness of the poverty alleviation efforts being done by Apeco and the Angaras.


Anti-Apeco oppositors may claim I am a protagonist for the Angaras or a fan of Apeco, or I am anti-Apeco, but who the hell cares?


Who are the real hard-liners? Who turns a blind eye to development in the guise of protecting the interest of people who are ignorant of their plans.


With due respect to my provincemate, try to go to other places and find-out who would always oppose pro-poor projects by invoking issues about morality and what-nots.


But have they bothered to pry into the spiritual life of parishioners? Have they tried to look into the extra-curricular affairs of their own ranks like, say womanizing priests, priests who are drunkards, homosexuals, trouble-makers, gun-totters and immoral ones who molest altar boys and have children out of wedlock?


Have we not read in the Bible of how the blind cannot possibly lead the blind because both of them will fall into the ditch?


Again, pardon me but when God poured a bunch of hypocrites in this land, majority of them may turn out to be minstrel of God who have the gall to flaunt morality and oppose casinos, jueteng and lotto yet receive donations from gambling lords and casino operators. “Bato-bato sa langit ang tamaan ay siguradong galit.” Anyway we are not perfect human being…no matter what…whatever happens…


In the case of my fellow media practitioners, I just wish that as members of the Philippine media like I am, they would bother to get the other side with equal billing in line with their editorial policy of balanced news and fearless views.


With the kind of media exposure they have been giving to anti-Apeco groups, I have doubts whether they really intend to have balanced reporting. If this is not biased reporting that they are doing, I don’t know what it is.               


At the end of the day, these so-called media experts are better advised to look into the allegations of the anti-Apeco groups by conducting their own independent investigation. They cannot rely on these groups’ press releases hook, line and sinker because these people are capable of making mountains out of molehills.


A classic example was when news reporter phoned Sen. Edgardo J. Angara sometime in 2008 asking the latter if he was hurt because she had information that Angara was ambushed in Casiguran following an encounter between the Army and the NPA.


She was apparently misinformed by her Aurora source that Angara was ambushed which was farthest from the truth, in the literal sense. The truth was that the senator was several miles away inaugurating a coconut plantation project in Dinalungan. I knew it because I was there. The false report was such that friends of the senator from abroad immediately called him up to find out how he was.


I found it rather odd, if not downright ridiculous that a reporter of this writer stature would believe her informant right away without bothering to double-check her facts. I told myself, how bewildering.


Its’ basic in journalism but this reporter never cared. It’s because she was apparently biased in favor of the anti-Apeco groups whether she admit it or not. It sucks, really and I mean it.


Great civilizations were not destroyed from the outside but from the inside, moral decay is a virus that kills the human heart and spreads like wildfire eating up the values of the people in a society towards destruction and annihilation.


Do I have to say more? (Jason de Asis)