Stephen Corry’s Letter To President Aquino

December 12, 2012

Friends,
There has been some good news in that President Aquino did meet with the Agta and the farmers and fisherfolk this week to listen to them voice their complaint about APECO trying to take their land, and he called for an investigation into the allegations. Here are two good news articles on that:

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2012/12/11/aquino-orders-review-apeco-257801

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/322541/aquino-wont-scrap-apeco-orders-review

Certainly, those who prayed and/or spread the news of the Agta’s march from Casiguran to Manila, as well as the letters written, including to President Aquino himself, have been instrumental in the attention and favor the Agta have received concerning the issue of their plight. One potent letter to President Aquino was written by Stephen Corry, the founder and director of Survival International, the leading international lobby organization for the rights of indigenous people. Their website is: http://www.survivalinternational.org

Here (and used with permission) is Stephen Corry’s compelling letter:

~~~~

6th December, 2012

Your Excellency,

I am writing, once again, to express Survival’s concern regarding the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO) and its threat to the land rights of the indigenous Casiguran Agta people. It is of great concern that the plans for APECO continue, despite strong local opposition, land grabbing and reports of human rights violations against those who oppose the project.

You may be aware that 120 indigenous people, farmers and fisher-­‐folk, representing 3000 families, are currently walking the more than 360km from Casiguran to Manila. They are asking for a zero budget for APECO. Appropriately, they plan to arrive in Manila on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. I urge you to meet with them in order to hear their concerns about the project and also the intimidation and harassment they have suffered.

The Agta peoples have lived on this peninsular for many generations. Their rights to their land are enshrined in both Philippine and International law. I call upon your government to ensure that the rights of the Casiguran Agta people are respected. No developments should be allowed to take place on their land without their free prior and informed consent.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Corry

Director

~~~~

Well, God is good and kind and compassionate, and we can be assured that He not only sees the plight of the afflicted and mistreated, but also hears their prayers –as well as those who have cried out to Him on their behalf. May we all continue to pray that God will enable President Aquino’s promised investigation to be done honestly and fairly, and may we continue to thank the Lord for all He is doing, and has done, since the Agta began their march for justice and equality.

It’s true that the controversy is far from over, but, there is definitely hope that justice could prevail.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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