December 29, 2008 03:41 PM Monday
By: Mamer Bañez
[ journal.com.ph ]
CASIGURAN, Aurora – Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo allayed fears that the government is on a massive land-grabbing spree in connection with the ongoing development of the Aurora Special Economic Zone in this coastal town.
Angara-Castillo said officials of the Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority will pay just compensation for land owners who would be affected by the massive construction.
“Our critics say we are here to take away your lands. We will not do that. If ever lands will be taken, they would only be taken once talks and negotiations have been finalized. Wala pong pang-aaping mangyayari,“ she said.
She urged residents not to dignify, much less believe the black propaganda campaign being waged against the ecozone, a pet project of Sen. Edgardo Angara and his son House Deputy Majority Leader Juan Edgardo Angara.
Angara-Castillo said authorities will strictly observe the law with regard to land acquisition.
She said the government has also laid out a resettlement plan in case communities will be displaced by the establishment of the ecozone.
The governor issued the assurance after militant groups in the province claimed that the government is bent on seizing lands at the 500-hectare Aurora ecozone site in barangays Dibacong, Dibet and Esteves to give way to development, including the establishment of the administration building.
Among those reportedly opposed to the project are the Justice for Peace Action Group and the Multi-sectoral Action Group. The local Catholic Church also assailed the alleged wrong process, particularly the lack of consultation.
Angara-Castillo said the project will enhance tourism, provide employment and improve the overall economic well-being of Aurora and surrounding provinces.