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Aurora ecozone chief quits

June 21, 2009 06:38 PM Sunday [ ]

By: Mamer Bañez

CASIGURAN, Aurora -- The chairman and administrator of the Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority has resigned from his post less than a year after being appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, virtually leaving a leadership vacuum in the fledgling and only economic zone this side of the Pacific.

Joseph Delano-Bernardo, a former Philippine ambassador to Spain, tendered his resignation to President Arroyo and the Board of Trustees of the ASEZA, which took effect June 15. He was appointed ASEZA chairman and administrator by President Arroyo August 1 last year.

Bernardo said that the post of chairman and administrator of ASEZA is a “very demanding job” which took a toll on him and his family.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, who is in Japan with President Arroyo, confirmed Bernardo’s resignation. He said the latter would like to spend more time with his family.

Bernardo is the second top-ranking ASEZA official to resign in four months. Last February, Jaime Melendres, deputy administrator, also tendered his resignation.

But unlike Bernardo, the reason for the resignation of Melendres, a former official of the Clark Development Corp. during the administration of former President Ramos, was unknown. But ASEZA insider said that Bernardo resigned due to his sickness.

Before his resignation, Bernardo and ASEZA officials have been encountering problems running the affairs of the economic zone, including the issue of right-of-way, possible displacement of tenant farmers and land owners in the impact zone of the project and compensation package for those to be affected.

Bernardo said they have already found a suitable place for relocation for the affected families at an area to be provided by the National Housing Authority and the provincial government.

People’s Tonight gathered that Bernardo resigned because of “tremendous pressure” as he was forced to assume the dual post of chairman and administrator and chief executive officer all at the same time for lack of a CEO.


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