Leaders and members of the Pambansang Lakas ng Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas and Resist Apeco! Defend Aurora Movement plank on large rocks lining the breakwater area in front of the Senate compound in Pasay, calling on the Senate stop the Apeco project on its tracks. (Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)
Group opposes entry of Taiwan’s agribusiness giant at Apeco
Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga
THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas has questioned the entry of a Taiwanese-owned agribusiness giant in the Aurora Pacific Economic and Freeport Zone (Apeco).
Pamalakaya recently learned of the entry of Nan Tsan Aurora Ltd. through the company’s plan to invest in three different export-oriented projects intended be set up in the second semester of the year as earlier announced by Apeco officials.
The group said President Aquino and the Angaras, the dominant political dynasty in the province and primary backers of Apeco, should stop entertaining potential locators, owing to the strong opposition to Apeco.
Pamalakaya Vice Chairman Salvador France said officials of Apeco and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) should also consider the fact that there is a pending petition at the Supreme Court (SC) questioning the constitutionality of the laws that created Apeco.
The petition was filed at the SC in October 2011 by some 300 petitioners from Aurora, led by Pamalakaya, Panlalawigang Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Aurora (Pamana), Resist Apeco, Defend Aurora Movement, Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon and Anakpawis party-list group, while the bill calling for the scrapping of Apeco was filed in February 2012 and was authored by outgoing Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis.
The SC has yet to rule on the petition while the House of Representatives did not tackle Mariano’s bill.
On April 8, 2013, lawyers of Apeco sought for more time to file their comment on the petition.
Nan Tsan Aurora Ltd. Inc. is engaged in agriculture, mariculture, aquaculture, and fish and agri-processing.
Based on news report quoting Apeco President Malcolm I. Sarmiento Jr., the agribusiness giant has submitted its proposal through a Letter of Intent by lawyer Johannes R. Bernabe, the company’s representative.
Pamalakaya learned that Nan Tsan plans to engage initially in fish processing as its priority undertaking, for which it will lease a seaside area of 1,000 square meters where it will build and install the facilities and equipment for the project. This undertaking will kick off starting the second quarter of 2013.
The group said the Taiwanese company is known as one of the largest eel farming and processing companies in Asia and it intends to apply its extensive expertise and resources in the breeding, cultivation and harvest of eels in the inland waters of Aurora, particularly the rivers and streams of the province.
Nan Tsan will be infusing at least $1.25 million or about P50.86 million for the fish processing and papaya projects alone.
The Taiwanese firm is eyeing 10 hectares of land within the ecozone for the planting and cultivation of papaya, according to Pamalakaya.
Other plans include building modern facilities for the handling, storage and packaging of the harvested fruit. It will also involve gathering the seeds which will be exported to Taiwan. The flesh of the fruit may be sold as food or food product, or even as by-product for use as ingredient or raw material for pharmaceutical firms or manufacturers of cosmetic products.
Jonathan L. Mayuga