Childrights groups ask DENR to recall ECC for Kaliwa dam over its catastrophic impact to women, children

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Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns together with Gabriela and indigenous group Katribu held a protest action in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in response to the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the department for the construction of Kaliwa dam.

“It’s a clear act of treachery! How can a department that is tasked in protecting the environment would give a green light to a project that could totally destroy Dumagat’s ancestral lands and displace thousands of indigenous people? The officials of the DENR should be held accountable for betraying Dumagat people and its future generations in favor of the multibillion-peso New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project,” said Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns Eule Rico Bonganay.

During the program, Salinlahi highlighted the imminent threat being posed by the impending construction of China-funded Kaliwa dam not only to indigenous people but as well as to neighboring areas in Southern Tagalog region. “Aside from the catastrophic impact to Dumagat people and their livelihood, it will also ravage and submerge a great portion of Sierra Madre’s biodiversity,” said Bonganay emphasizing the strong opposition among affected communities which was echoed during an art and play workshop that Salinlahi facilitated for Dumagat children.

Together with the Association for the Rights of Children in South East Asia (ARCSEA) and Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), Salinlahi has facilitated a workshop for Dumagat children during the Dumagat Day in Infanta, Quezon last October 25 – 27.

“DENR officials are lying though their teeth! Contrary to their claims, there’s no genuine consultation conducted to solicit the views and opinions of the affected population regarding the project, especially among women and children who will carry the heaviest brunt of the environmental plunder and displacement. Consequently, child poverty, hunger and malnutrition rate will increase as well as illiteracy rate among Dumagat tribe. The future generation will pay the price of development aggression,” said Bonganay adding that the project will only result to further marginalization of the Dumagat tribe.

Outputs of the activities were displayed during the protest including the “Dumagat children hand stamps” that symbolizes their opposition to the project. The groups demanded the DENR to heed to the clamor of Dumagat children calling for the stop of the Kaliwa Dam project by immediately and unequivocally recall its ECC.

Moreover, Salinlahi accused the Duterte government in connivance with water concessionaries for creating a “fake water crisis” in Metro Manila.

“It seems that we are being held hostage by this government to force us into accepting its failure to resolve the recurring water woes and its water privatization scheme at the expense of our indigenous people. We should stand and unite against it!” Bonganay ended.###


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