Climate and Environment

Ignored by Palace, IPs to bring Kaliwa Dam campaign to churches and schools

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Ignored by Palace, IPs to bring Kaliwa Dam campaign to churches and schools
Members of indigenous Dumagat-Remontado communities pose for a photo at the Marikina Sports Complex on February 22, 2023.
Philstar.com/Gaea Katreena Cabico

MANILA, Philippines — Groups who oppose the P12.2-billion Kaliwa Dam vowed on Friday to continue fighting to preserve their land and culture. The representatives of indigenous peoples' communities were back in the capital a month after their grueling journey to Metro Manila ended without them getting a dialogue with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. 

Hundreds of Dumagat-Remontados and their supporters walked for nine days in February from General Nakar in Quezon province to the City of Manila to persuade Marcos to halt the China-funded project. 

Kaliwa Dam will submerge their ancestral domain, threaten their livelihoods, and destroy their culture, they said. 

"We will continue our campaign for the cancelation of the project, and look for alternatives that will not destroy our culture and our forests," indigenous peoples’ leader Conchita Calzado said in a briefing. 

Calzado said they will campaign in schools and churches to get more people to support their call to stop Kaliwa Dam. 

Conrad Vargas, convenor of STOP Kaliwa Dam Network, called on authorities to act on complaints filed by IP and environmental groups to halt the construction of access road leading to the dam, stop the tunneling in Rizal town, and the withdrawal of the certification precondition issued by the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples.

"We’re hoping that government agencies will act accordingly. We will not stop until our complaints are resolved," Vargas said. 

Kaliwa Dam, which will be funded by a loan from China, was a flagship project of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program. 

The dam is touted as a solution to Metro Manila’s water problems by supplying some 600 million liters a day to the capital region’s 14 million people. Metro Manila currently relies on Angat Dam in Bulacan for water supply.

According to groups opposed to Kaliwa Dam, 1,400 Dumagat-Remontado families in Rizal and Quezon will be affected by the project. Government agencies, however, said that only 46 families will be impacted.

Last month, project proponent Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System awarded a “disturbance fee” of P160 million to a faction of Dumagat-Remontados who gave their consent for the project.



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