PRESS RELEASE: IPs, advocates unite vs. mega dam projects; call to junk MOA, CP
Indigenous Peoples’ (IPs) groups Dumagat and Isnag scored the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for their implementation of mega dam projects in indigenous communities in Quezon and Apayao. They called to revoke the Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) for the Kaliwa Dam in Quezon and the Certification Precondition (CP) for the Gened Dam 1 in Apayao.
During the press conference on February 3, representatives of the Dumagat and Isnag communities, Network Opposed to Kaliwa, Kanan, and Laiban Dams (NO to KKLD), Water for the People Network, Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, and other IPs’ rights advocates, affirmed their commitment to protecting the livelihood, resources, rights, and environment of the affected communities.
They asserted their rights to genuine Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) process, self-determination, and ancestral lands. They claim the NCIP continues to violate these rights through manipulation of FPIC processes, intimidation, and other violations, to secure Certification Precondition for implementing destructive projects within IPs’ ancestral domains.
“The collusion between project proponents in railroading and manipulating FPIC processes for projects within indigenous communities manifests the desperation of these agencies to implement destructive projects, regardless of its negative impacts to Indigenous Peoples,” kakay Tolentino, Spokesperson of NO to KKLD, said.
“In these two cases, the opposition on dam projects are overwhelmingly greater than those who agree. We hold NCIP officials accountable for allowing such manipulation of FPIC processes to favor large private companies. FPIC is part of our self-determination as Indigenous Peoples. It is not merely a requirement and procedure,” Tolentino added.
From January 24 – 29, 2022, the MWSS conducted the second round of MOA validation for the controversial Kaliwa Dam project. NCIP-selected Dumagat “leaders” signed the MOA in General Nakar, Quezon. Members of affected communities condemned the validation amid Alert Level 3 due to the pandemic.
“We are under Alert Level 3 due to the COVID-19. Still, the NCIP and MWSS proceeded with negotiations. We, in General Nakar, condemned this activity amid the pandemic and called for its postponement. The majority of the Dumagat from other directly affected communities also opposed the railroading of the destructive project,” Rodrigo Piston, Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) from Lower Pagsangahan, Quezon, said.
In Apayao, the NCIP En Banc granted the CP for the Gened 1 Dam project in the last quarter of 2021 amid strong opposition by Isnag people in Kabugao, Apayao, and irregularities of the FPIC process. Despite the current issue on the Gened Dam 1 project, the NCIP railroads the FPIC process for the Gened 2 Dam.
“This is our ancestral domain. The government already recognized that. We (Indigenous Peoples) should be the ones deciding, and our decision is NO. No to dams! No to negotiation! Stop the operation. We do not want the foreigners to make a profit at our expense. This land is ours. What sin did we commit to be sacrificed?” Budin Balalang, IPMR from Dibagat, Kabugao, said.
Support networks and national organizations affirmed their commitment to stand with Dumagat and Isnag peoples in their struggle for their self-determination and ancestral lands.
The Dumagat and Insag peoples, together with IPs rights advocates, continue to live the legacy of IP heroes and martyrs. They stand against destructive projects by private corporations and the government. #
Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU)
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