Spokesperson misrepresenting Casiguran’s Agta-Dumagat | Inquirer Opinion
Close  

Spokesperson misrepresenting Casiguran’s Agta-Dumagat

/ 12:05 AM June 02, 2014

This is written in response to the allegations of Conchita Descarga, a self-styled “Dumagat-Agta leader” of Barangay (village) Calabgan, Casiguran, Aurora (“Lies about Aurora ecozone,” Opinion, 5/23/14). We find it ironic that Descarga accuses Task Force Anti-Apeco of “nonstop rumormongering” against the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Apeco), when she herself has failed to cite any credible sources in her so-called “defense” of Apeco’s COA-documented anomalies.

In truth, readers of Descarga’s May 23 letter have just witnessed a public display of Apeco’s penchant for misinformation. To provide just two examples: DOJ Opinion No. 35 s. 2013 officially affirms that the 105-hectare school reservation within Apeco’s territory can be rightfully redistributed to farmers adversely affected by the ecozone’s activities.

ADVERTISEMENT

On the very same note, the provincial agrarian reform officer of Aurora confirmed in April 2013 that Apeco had failed to secure any certification of conversion and reclassification of land, prior to its construction of housing lots on a 2.5-hectare prime agricultural land in Barangay Esteves in Casiguran. Under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Republic Act No. 9700), it is illegal to convert any irrigated or irrigable agricultural land without the permission of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

On Descarga’s incorrect allegations, we have already presented factual answers backed by official documents and data in relevant government offices as well as various media releases.

FEATURED STORIES
OPINION

More importantly, Descarga’s letter reveals the degree to which she and Apeco have been misrepresenting the interests of Casiguran’s Agta-Dumagat community. It is quite curious that Apeco’s exponents have used Descarga as their alleged spokesperson for the Agta-Dumagat, when Descarga herself is only one-third (37.5 percent) Agta, does not speak the Agta dialect as her mother tongue—and has never even resided for any extended period in an Agta community.

These facts about Descarga are plainly verifiable in her profile (ID#8062–“Konsita”) in the official Agta Demographic Database of anthropologists Dr. Thomas Headland, Janet Headland and Rey Uehara. This database has chronicled the lives of 4,300 Casiguran Agta since the 1950s. The database is available for all to examine at the website of SIL International (http://www.sil.org/resources/publications/entry/9299).

Fact: Apeco is presenting questionable spokespersons to issue misleading statements to the public. It is this kind of activity that above all convinces us that something is rotten in the town of Casiguran—the Angaras’ Aurora-Pacific ecozone.

And that is why it is high time to stop Apeco.

—HANSLEY A. JULIANO,

Task Force Anti-Apeco,

[email protected]

ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe to Inquirer Opinion Newsletter
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Agta Dumagat, Aurora, Casiguran, news, regions
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.