Philippine tribes unite against destructive mega dams

Posted: September 27, 2014 in Peasants

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News Release
September 27, 2014

“Ang mga dambuhalang dam – Laiban (Rizal), Jalaur (Panay), Balog-balog (Tarlac), Pulangi Dam V (Bukidnon), Baco – ay banta sa aming buhay at lupang ninuno.”

TAYTAY, Rizal – Indigenous peoples Dumagat and Remontado (Rizal and Quezon), Manobo-Pulangyon (Bukidnon) and Tumandok (Panay), call to stop ALL mega dam constructions on IP lands.

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“These development aggressions by the BS Aquino regime is a threat to our lands, life and rights to self-determination,” said Arnel Delos Santos, a Dumagat whose lands will be wiped out by the Laiban dam in Rizal province.

“We our nothing without our lands. We will die for our lands,” he said.

The IP tribes gathered in a three-day National Forum on Laiban Dam and other Mega Dams last September 24-26 which was sponsored by the Philippines Task Force on Indigenous People’s Rights (TFIP).

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“Indigenous peoples’ ancestral domains have been hosts, albeit by force, intimidation, and deceit, to large-scale, multi-purpose dams. These dams, which the government has peddled to be indispensable for national development, caused the displacement of indigenous peoples from their territories, and destroyed their homes, sources of livelihood and sacred sites. Further, due to displacement, indigenous groups, especially those who have migrated and settled in other areas, experience a worsening socio-economic conditions and erosion of their culture,” TFIP said in the concept note for the forum.

“Though touted as essential to meet the water and power requirements in urban areas and irrigation water for vast farms in rural areas, these dams, such as Binga, Ambuklao, San Roque and Magat in Luzon and Pulangi in Mindanao, have primarily benefited big industries, like mining and plantations. Power and water rates are in an all-time high and poor farmers cannot keep up with the rising costs of irrigating their farmlands,” the task force said.

For the tumandoks from Panay, “the Jalaur mega dam will displace 17,000 tumandoks and our culture, lands, and cultural identity will be lost,” Roy Giganto, former TUMANDUK chairperson said.

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Tumandok leader Roy Giganto delivers situationer on Jalaur River Multipurpose Project – Stage II (JRMP2).

“The Pulangi Dam V will affect 32 barangays from Bukidnon, all IP villages. The project will never benefit us but instead, will kill us,” Datu Nilo of Save Pulangyon Tribe alliance said.

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Datu Nilo, a Manobo-Pulangyon from Bukidnon, shares his tribe’s struggle against Pulangi Dam V.

The participants was joined by from the sectors of youth and students, church people, partylist groups, and other peoples organizations.

The activity also became a platform for the creation and launching of the Protect Sierra Madre (PSM) Alliance as a mechanism for the wider opposition and sustained engagement of peoples against the Laiban Dam.

It also forged unity among IPs to consolidate its ranks and intensify campaigns and struggles for the protection and preservation of IPs and their lands.

Nicanor “Ka Kano” Delos Santos, a Dumagat killed in December 8, 2001 during then President Gloria Arroyo’s time, was given tribute for his undying, persistent and vigorous struggle for the welfare of the Dumagats and Remontados.

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His kids and wife vowed to continue his legacy and journey until freedom is achieved.

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The activity concluded with a protest-action in time of the Sierra Madre day on September 26 in Mendiola.###

For more details and pictures, please see No to Jalaur Mega Project FB page and Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples Rights FB.

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