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12,000 sign petition to stop Kaliwa Dam

MANILA, Philippines — Around 12,000 people have signed a petition urging the Duterte administration to stop the P10.37-billion China-funded Kaliwa Dam project in Quezon province.

Located at Gen. Nakar and Infanta towns, the project poses a serious threat to people and the environment, according to priest Pete Montallana, head of environmentalist groups Save Sierra Madre Alliance and Stop Kaliwa Dam network.

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Resident opposition

Montallana said hundreds of Infanta residents, including Mayor Filipina Grace America, launched the petition after a Mass at the Infanta Cathedral.

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The petition, which was made available in print and online through Change.org, urges the Duterte administration to stop the project that also supposedly violated legal processes.

Around 3,000 people have signed the petition during the launch on July 7, while the online petition had more than 9,000 signatures as of Sunday.

10 million target

Montallana said they are aiming to get 10 million signatures, similar to the 10 million signature campaign against mining in Palawan in 2011.

“If we have 10 million signatures of people who oppose the dam, any political personality would think twice about supporting the project,” he said.

Montallana said the dam was approved without consulting Remontado Dumagats who claim the area as their ancestral domain and would destroy 300 hectares of forest, which is the habitat of 126 species.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has also opposed the dam, which will be constructed over the Infanta Fault and endanger 100,000 people living downstream the Kaliwa River.

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Deadly floods recalled

Local residents still fear a recurrence of the deadly 2004 flash floods and mud slides caused by four successive cyclones that killed 1,000 people.

The Kaliwa Dam is part of the government’s New Centennial Water Source Project, which aims to provide a new water supply to Metro Manila and its environs.

The project will involve the construction of Laiban Dam at the Kaliwa River and the smaller Kaliwa Dam, but the government decided to proceed in stages, so only Kaliwa Dam has been approved.

The dam is envisioned to collect 600 million-liters-a-day (MLD) capacity with a supply tunnel that can deliver 2,400-MLD capacity.

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TAGS: China-funded project, Filipina Grace America, Kaliwa dam, New Centennial Water Source Project, Rodrigo Duterte
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