Angara, Osmeña in word war over Aurora eco zone

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2012 09:29 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2012 05:29 AM

Angara challenges Osmeña to see Apeco

MANILA, Philippines - Is the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (Apeco) really underdeveloped and not economically viable as Sen. Sergio Osmeña III alleges?
Sen. Edgardo Angara, the author of the law that created Apeco, proposed that Osmeña just visit the place.
"I would like to invite Mr. Vicious to come and visit Aurora so that he doesn't make these wild allegations," Angara told reporters on Tuesday.
Early on Tuesday, Osmeña held a press conference with some residents from Casiguran, Aurora to denounce Apeco and call on the Senate not to approve its budget for 2013.
Osmeña said Apeco has not succeeded since it was established, with no significant economic activity going on because of its location, a usual destination of typhoons. He and the residents also accused the Angaras of landgrabbing.
Angara said the accusations are baseless.
"He should not believe everything that he reads because most of them are coming from his press office," Angara said of Osmeña, who hails from Cebu.
Contrary to Osmeña 's claims, Angara said developments in Apeco are on track. The airport will be completed next year, and a seaport will be built. A road connection bridge is also being completed, he said.
Angara added that residents who sold their properties to Apeco will be given new houses and guaranteed employment. Five locators are also preparing to operate in the economic zone.
The senator from Aurora said he does not understand why Osmeña has been raising issues against him and Apeco, since they are not political rivals.
Angara also took exception to Osmeña's statement that only the Angara family uses Apeco's airstrip. He said the airstrip has not been opened yet.
"When we inaugurate it next year, we will give him (Osmeña) a free pass and we will even charter a small plane for him," he said.