Press Release on SSMNA's reaction to Pnoy's SONA
Elizabeth Carranza – 0920-9684982
Environmental Group Disenchanted with President’s SONA
July 29, 2014, Manila – Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance (SSMNA), a multi-sectoral network of indigenous peoples groups, non-government organizations, grassroots communities, faith-based groups, academe and individuals working for the conservation and protection of Sierra Madre Mountain Range, expresses disenchantment with the 5th SONA of President Aquino.
“The President’s 5th SONA, as the 4th, is terribly disappointing for Mother Earth. Nothing was said about care for the environment, instead the construction of Kaliwa Dam which means destruction of Sierra Madre and its prime forests!” exclaimed Elizabeth Carranza, chairperson of SSMNA.
Kaliwa Dam, as the President mentioned in his SONA is one of the 7 Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programs that he has signed. The project was approved by NEDA on May 29, 2014. The 60 meter high concrete-face rock filled dam (CFRD) with a capacity of 600 million liters per day (MLD) and with a projected cost of Php 18.72 billion will be constructed in Kaliwa River, Barangay Pagsangahan, General Nakar, Quezon. It will inundate a watershed area of 9, 700 hectares affecting about 1, 465 families.
“The entire project is actually called the New Centennial Water Source Project. It has two components, namely, Kaliwa Dam and Laiban Dam. Kaliwa Dam is only the first phase of the project. Being an integrated system, Laiban Dam will surely follow,” pointed out Carranza.
Laiban Dam will be a 113 meter high CFRD with a capacity of 1,800 MLD and a projected cost of Php 25.60 billion. It is planned to be constructed in the Kaliwa River, Barangay Laiban, Tanay, Rizal. The project will inundate 28,000 hectares of watershed affecting about 3,708 families.
“The project is a threat to our remaining prime forests in Sierra Madre and its biodiversity. It disregards the basic right of the present and future generation to a healthy and balanced ecology,” Carranza added.
Carranza calls the attention of President Aquino: “Mr. President, mahigit pong isang oras at kalahati ang iyong SONA…nakakalungkot para sa Inang Kalikasan na wala ka man lang nabanggit ni isang linya para sa pagkalinga at pangangalaga sa Kanya. Bago ang lahat at ang anupamang pag-unlad, kinakailangang Kalikasan muna ang pagtuunan ng pansin! Ang ating pinakaBoss ay ang Dakilang Maylikha at ang pangangalaga kay Inang Kalikasan na pinagpapadaluyan Niya ng handog Niyang buhay sa ating lahat ang s’yang dapat nating prayoridad dahil tayong mga tao ang inatasan ng Dakilang Maylikha na maging tagapangalaga ng tanan Niyang nilikha!”
Carranza also summons the Filipino people: “My dear Filipino brothers and sisters, let us unite ourselves in Saving Sierra Madre and our remaining forests! Our environment and natural resources are worth fighting for, worth dying for!” -end