300 indigenous people begin 9-day march to Malacañang to protest Kaliwa Dam
MANILA, Philippines — A group of 300 indigenous people (IP) on Wednesday kicked off a nine-day march from General Nakar, Quezon towards the Malacañang Palace in protest of the Kaliwa Dam construction.
The Chinese-funded dam construction has garnered much controversy in recent years, as it would be built in protected areas in the Sierra Madre mountain range.
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“Simula na ang 9 na araw na Alay-Lakad ng 300 katutubong Dumagat/Remontado para tutulan at ipatigil ang Kaliwa Dam! Mula sa baybay ng Sulok sa Gen. Nakar, Quezon hanggang makarating sa Malacañang sa February 23,” said the Sectors and Peoples Totally Opposed to the (Stop) Kaliwa Dam on Twitter.
(The nine-day Offertory Walk of 300 indigenous Dumagat/Remontado to oppose and stop the Kaliwa Dam! From the shores of Sulok in Gen. Nakar, Quezon, until the Malacañang is reached on February 23.)
The 300 IP are joined in their march by the Stop Kaliwa Dam network, which is composed of farmers, fisherfolks, and environmental groups.
“Ipapahayag po namin sa Sambayanang Pilipino at sa buong mundo ang mariin naming pagtutol sa plano ng pamahalaang itayo ang dambuhalang Dam sa aming lugar. Hindi po kami pumapayag na ilulubog ng proyektong ito ang aming mga pamayanan, mga kabahayan, kagubatan, sakahan, pangisdaan, mga sagradong lugar, at kultura,” said the indigenous group in a joint letter addressed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
(We declare to the Filipino nation and to the whole world that we strongly oppose the government’s plan to build a large dam in our place. We will not let this project sink our community, our houses, our forests, our farmlands, our fisheries, our sacred areas, and our culture.)
The dam was built to supply water to Metro Manila. The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System had already secured all the required permits to start the construction of the dam in December 2022.
READ: It’s all systems go for Kaliwa Dam project
However, the IP emphasized that they are not being selfish with the water supply and that Metro Manila is free to use the water from the Kaliwa River.
Stop Kaliwa Dam also listed possible alternatives, such as watershed restoration and inclusive landscape management, as well as water recycling and wastewater treatment.
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