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PIA Press Release

APECO trains women for unconventional enterprise

Baler, Aurora (30 November) -- The Aurora Pacific Special Economic Zone and Freeport in the municipality of Casiguran has launched the first of a series of intensive skills training for families living in the vicinity of the ecozone.

APECO, together with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority of Aurora and New Kanlaon Construction Inc., is training 30 women on concrete works, primarily on plastering masonry, until the first week of December.

Women are widely regarded as the best welders. This project wants to show that women can also excel in plastering, which requires the same manual dexterity as welding.

The women masons are now being trained to plaster drainage canals. After they graduate, they will also work on the perimeter fencing for the Freeport and, later on, help build masonry walls of the buildings that will be located in the Freeport.

Meanwhile, the women workers have organized themselves into the Casiguran Association of Lady Masons Inc. (CALM). The newly trained members of the cooperative will build resettlement housing following the model of community participation by Gawad Kalinga.

Representative Juan Edgardo Angara of Aurora promised to look into how the TESDA skills acquisition program can be sustained.

Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo also promised to study how the provincial government can further support CALM.

APECO has the potential to create employment for 50,000 to 200,000 people at full buildout. Casiguran alone will not be able to provide the number of workers needed in APECO. Workers from other municipalities throughout Aurora and even Isabela are expected to flock to Casiguran to fill the gap.

APECO's unique location makes it a natural gateway to the Pacific. It holds the potential to open the country's east coast to trade and business, and usher a new era of growth for Aurora and its neighboring provinces.

The Casiguran Bay is well protected by the Sierra Madre to its west and the San Ildefonso Peninsula on the east, making it a natural refuge of seafarers. In fact, Casiguran got its name from that allusion ? Casiguruhan, which means safe haven.

Casiguran is equally steeped in history and natural beauty. A 400-year old Galleon Trade marker still stands on the Freeport. In additon, archived World War II records show that Japanese and American naval fleets battled to gain high ground on the bay.

San Ildefonso Peninsula's four-kilometer deep-water extending out to the Pacific Ocean also produces world-class surf that draws tourists from all over the world. (COMSTE) [top]

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