Farmers support Dumagat-Remontados’ protest march vs. Kaliwa Dam

[Social, envi costs of dam project too much]

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas expresses its support and solidarity to the Dumagat-Remontados indigenous people and farmers opposing the Kaliwa Dam through a solidarity march from Gen. Nakar in Quezon to Malacanang.

KMP also demands the halting of the dam project which will displace communities, inundate ancestral lands, and destroy the environment. Under threat by the Kaliwa Dam construction are 126 species of animals and plants, 96 species of which are endemic to the area.

The start of the construction of Kaliwa Dam is not the Golden Age of infrastructure as claimed by its proponents. This onerous dam project is just one of the many Build, Build, Build projects pursued by the government to the disadvantage and detriment of the people. Aside from the social and environmental costs of the Kaliwa Dam, Filipino taxpayers stand to shoulder the Php12.2 billion loan from the Chinese government.

The Kaliwa Dam is costly to pay as the commercial loan agreement with China has a 2% annual interest rate, a commitment fee of 0.3% annually, a management fee of US$633,600, and a 20-year maturity with a 7-year grace period. Should the Philippines default on loan payments, domestic patrimonial assets, and property may be compromised. This loan contract between the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) and Chinese corporations is financially disadvantageous and an affront to Philippine patrimony and sovereignty.

Since December 2022, the China Energy Engineering Group Ltd. (CEEC) placed the Tunnel Boring Machine in Teresa, Rizal. The most advanced drilling machine imported from China will bore a 21.9-kilometer-long, 500-meter-deep diversion tunnel inside the mountains to pave way for the construction of the 63-meter dam’s reservoir with a 600 million-liters-a-day (MLD) capacity. The Kaliwa Dam will encroach on 291 hectares of land including the ancestral lands of more than 5,000 Dumagat-Remontados people.

It was during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. that the plan for a megadam project in Sierra Madre was conceptualized — the Kaliwa, Kanan, and Laiban dams in Rizal and Quezon provinces.

Image from Stop Kaliwa Dam network.

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