APECO’s Illegal Project Ordered To Halt

November 4, 2015

Friends,
Our family has heard some great news this week: APECO, a huge multinational corporation in the Philippines which has been forcefully pushing the Casiguran Agta and other locals off their land for the past six years, has just been ordered by the national government to “cease and desist” for acting illegally. (The Agta are the tribal people my parents work with and among whom my brother and sister and I grew up.)

Here is a report:

http://www.rappler.com/nation/111523-apeco-housing-project-illegal-dar

At that same informative news site, here is a past article that discusses the abuses against the Agta and the need for improving their education so that they can better know their rights:

http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/62311-bringing-inclusive-development-casiguran-agta

Within that article, my dad is cited with a link to many other abuse cases against the Agta that he documented, as well as the link to the 2013 letter, signed by 198 international scholars, which was sent to President Aquino (the president of the Philippines). Here is the part of Rappler’s article that includes those two links:

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As documented by American anthropologist by Dr. Thomas Headland, who lived and worked with the Casiguran Agta for 5 decades, the human rights abuses against Aurora’s Agta tribes have included slavery, mass murder, kidnapping of children, but most especially, the takeover of their ancestral domains by outsiders.

Though the first settlers of Aurora province, the Agta have long been displaced from their very homelands by international and national logging firms, mining companies, military battalions, and unscrupulous immigrants – developments which have resulted in a 40% decline in the [Agta] population from 1960 to 2010. Last April 2013, Headland along with nearly 200 other social scientists from around the world, affirmed that this danger continued to hang over the heads of the present-day Agta, through the sustained operations of APECO.

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On 10/22/15, I wrote about the typhoon that had just hit the Casiguran area, and that same day, much to our appreciation, President Aquino visited the town to distribute supplies and to personally assess the typhoon’s damage. See here:

http://www.rappler.com/nation/110272-aquino-casiguran-relocation-typhoon-lando

The day before that, several officials flew into the area to do the same (which is also very much appreciated), and at risk to themselves, not only because of the weather conditions, but because of reported problems with the airstrip. Rappler also carried that news story and there is a link there of the Agta chieftain being interviewed. (He and others viewable in the video, as well as others in some of the photos, are Agta in whose village we lived for many years.) Here is that link:

http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/110250-typhoon-lando-kuppo-task-force-ground-zero-formed-casiguran-aurora

We know that the Lord is caring for the Agta and for others in Casiguran. Maybe the typhoon, which fueled an inspection of its damage, was also God’s way to get officials to further inspect the damage in the region caused by APECO.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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