Various non-government organizations on Thursday urged China to stop funding the Kaliwa Dam, a new water source to be put up to meet the increasing water needs of Metro Manila, Rizal, and Quezon.
Fr. Pete Montallana of Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance questioned the Chinese government over its awareness of supposed violations being committed in the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam project or the New Centennial Water Supply Project “on the ground.”
He said China had failed to put in place and monitor safeguard measures and protocols in its development projects’ investments abroad, asking “what more the Kaliwa Dam?”
Renato Ibañez, leader of the indigenous group Sukatan-LN in Tanay, Rizal, hit the dam project, saying “how can we fully understand the project when we are being deprived of our right of a democratic process toward an informed approval?’
He lamented that before a series of consultations, they were requesting documents from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for documents written or translated to their dialect, to no avail.
“There were also reports that many of our indigenous peoples are being bribed of, are being promised of material things, and are being pressured just to get their ‘yes’ to the project. Just like last December, the MWSS gave us Christmas gifts, which the government never used to do so in the past,” said Marcelino Tena, another indigenous peoples leader from the SAGIBIN-LN.
The groups belonged to the STOP Kaliwa Dam Network.
Lawyer Ryan Roset of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center handling the free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) process appealed to teh National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to facilitate the release of the resolution of non-consent “immediately.”
“The FPIC is not a bureaucratic roadblock to a government project, rather it is an inherent indigenous peoples right inextricably intertwined to the rights to self-governance, self-determination and collective decision-making,” he said in a statement.