US, AFP turn Aurora into industrial-military enclave

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In March, Gilbert Teodoro Jr, defense secretary, visited a naval base in Casiguran, Aurora. The AFP built this base in collaboration with the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO) to allegedly counter China’s presence in the Benham Rise. Earlier, APECO entered into an agreement with the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC) to transform the enclave into the country’s “defense hub”. This merger aims to construct a military-industrial zone within the 12,923-hectare industrial enclave.

Teodoro said the transformation of APECO is in line with the AFP’s Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC), which is framed in the US general strategy in the Asia Pacific. APECO will allegedly be used for the Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program (SRDP) under the AFP modernization. It will be a center for maintenance and repair of military aircraft. It is also touted to become a drone manufacturing center.

Thousands of farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous Aeta people in Casiguran were dispossessed of their land and evicted from their communities when APECO was first constructed. Its transformation into an industrial-military base and enclave will further worsen the oppression and land grabbing of peasant masses and minorities in the province.

The AFP terrorizes the people when it employs its modern equipment used in bombing, shelling and indiscriminate firing against peasant communities. Recently, it bombarded communities in Dipaculao and Maria Aurora. Using drones, it intensified the surveillance of the activity of the toiling masses and the entire civilian population.

US, AFP turn Aurora into industrial-military enclave