News Article on Kaliwa and Laiban Dams (1): Stop 2 Sierra Madre dam projects, Agta folks appealStop 2 Sierra Madre dam projects, Agta folks appeal
By Delfin T. Mallari Jr. |
Inquirer Southern Luzon 6:00 am | Monday, October 13th, 2014
LUCENA CITY—As the Catholic Church commemorated Indigenous Peoples’
Sunday, the Agta tribe called on the Filipino people to join their
opposition against two dam projects—Kaliwa and Laiban—on Sierra Madre.
The dam projects would tap water from Agos River on Sierra Madre to
supply Metro Manila with potable water.
President Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address in July, said the
dam projects on Sierra Madre were among several public-private
partnership programs he had approved for immediate implementation.
“With the deepening silence of Congress and Senate against the threat
of dam projects on Sierra Madre, only the people’s vigilance, with the
support of the media, can stop the destruction of our ancestral
domain,” Ramcy Astoveza, chieftain of the Agta tribe based in northern
Quezon province, said in a phone interview.
The P18.7-billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project
(NCWS-KDP) of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS)
had no free prior and informed consent (FPIC) from their tribe, as
mandated under Republic Act No. 8371, or the Indigenous Peoples’
Rights Act (Ipra) of 1997, Astoveza said.
FPIC is a means adopted in the Ipra to protect the rights and interest
of indigenous peoples.
Astoveza vowed that they would not give the FPIC for the dam project.
“Once we give the FPIC, we will only seal the death of our tribe,” he
Last week, the MWSS, a government-owned and -controlled corporation,
had invited prospective bidders for the Kaliwa dam project.
Elizabeth Carranza, head of Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance Inc.
(SSMNAI) that is opposed to the project, said the dam would threaten
the remaining prime forests on Sierra Madre and its biodiversity, and
deprive future generations of a healthy and balanced ecology.
“We don’t need new dams; they are not the ones supplying water to us.
We need to restore the true source of clean water and clean air. We
need to restore our forests,” she said.
The proposed Kaliwa dam, a 62-meter-high concrete-face, rock-filled
dam (CFRD) with a capacity of 600 million liters per day (MLD), will
be constructed in Kaliwa River in the mountain village of Pagsangahan
in General Nakar town, Quezon.
SSMNAI said the dam would flood a watershed area of 9,700 hectares and
affect about 1,465 families.
The government is also pushing for the construction of the Laiban dam,
a 113-meter-high CFRD with a capacity of 1,800 MLD.
The Laiban dam, which is also a component of the NCWS project, is
planned to be constructed in upper Kaliwa River in Barangay (village)
Laiban, Tanay town, Rizal province.
The project would inundate 28,000 ha of watershed and affect about
3,708 families, according to SSMNAI.
The Laiban dam project is a joint-venture of San Miguel Corp. and the
MWSS. It also aims to divert water from the mountain river system to
augment the critical potable water supply of Metro Manila.
It was shelved in 2010 amid strong opposition from indigenous Sierra
The opposition groups also cited the risk posed by the dam projects,
as their proposed site lies between the Marikina and Real-Infanta
If the dam breaks because of earthquakes, a repeat of the destructive
floods in 2004 in northern Quezon could result in unimaginable
catastrophe, according to dam critics.