‘Railroading’ of Kaliwa Dam project pact scored

Environmental groups on Wednesday chided the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for allegedly “railroading” the Kaliwa Dam Project with the signing of an agreement between the Dumagat/Remontado Indigenous peoples of Quezon and Rizal Provinces despite the surge of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines.

The memorandum of agreement signing held in Tanay, Rizal was reportedly conducted with select leaders who are in favor of the project having been invited to take part.  From January 24 until January 29, leaders from the Dumagat communities in Gen. Nakar were invited to a week-long MOA validation and Community Royalty Development Program (CRDP) discussion.

Ironically, Rizal is currently placed at Alert Level 3 by the IATF, the Stop Kaliwa Dam Network pointed.

More than a hundred indigenous peoples are in attendance in two different venues, while some are connected via Zoom.

In a news statement, Conchita Calzado, one of the Dumagat leaders invited to the assembly, said the participants were somewhat selected because many stakeholders were not allowed entry, while those who were allowed to take part were not given opportunity to speak.

Calzado’s group also raised concerns regarding the real agenda of the event before the start of the assembly.

The invitation letter was reportedly sent to select leaders and stated that the event is only for the MOA Validation and CRDP drafting. But upon arrival, the MOA signing is already being discussed without a period for validation of the MOA and the completed CRDP with the communities involved, Calzado alleged.

While many were still demanding for clarifications from the NCIP regarding the issue, Calzado’s group claimed they did not receive a clear response from the project proponents. 

The leaders asserted that the CRDP must be anchored on the community’s ancestral domain sustainable development and protection plan (ADSDPP) and along with the MOA, must be done with the entire Dumagat community.

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