Tribes oppose dam project in Chico River, Tabuk City, Kalinga

Tribes oppose dam project in Chico River

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Tribes oppose dam project in Chico River

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Members of three sub-tribes in Kalinga oppose the project fearing their ancestral land will be damaged.

CORDILLERA. The Chico River remains the lifeblood of Cordilleras winding through the country’s biggest mountain range. Kalinga tribes are once again up in arms following a proposed hydro electric plant in the area. (Milo Brioso)

KALINGA -- Members of the Naneng, Dallak and Minanga sub-tribes and residents of Bagumbayan, Tabuk City have opposed the proposed dam project in the city, saying violence may erupt if plans to build a hydroelectric plant at the Chico River push through.

“We are afraid as precedents that rebellion will arise and blood be shed like what happened to some members of our sub tribe on the proposed dam in Tomiangan Dupag, Tabuk City,” said the tribal group.

If approved, the hydroelectric dam project will affect five villages and the three sub-tribes.

In a letter to National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Cordillera director Roland Calde, residents who have parcels of land directly affected by the proposed 52-megawatt hydroelectric dam by the San Lorenzo Builders and Developers Group (Karayan Inc.) are strongly opposing the proposed dam because their ancestral inheritance will surely be damaged.

“This land is the source of our living and also where they buried our ancestors,” the letter stated. “Those who decided on the pursuance of the dam are the people from our sub-tribes who are not directly affected. It is very much unfair that other people will decide for us who own parcels of that land and this is against our human rights; beside we have the right to be secured of our own properties.”

“While it is true the voice of the majority prevails during consultations initiated by the NCIP–Kalinga Provincial Office, the numbers of those who were present during the voting is not from our place (affected area). We could have voice out our apprehension if they have consulted us in our place. Those people seeking for development never consider that others property are being sacrificed for their welfare and without due process,” the petitioners said.

The letter stated the 50-year Urban Master Plan of Tabuk City, declared the western area to be dedicated for tourism development which includes Barangay Dupag to Bantay.

“Any activities that will destroy the tourism area along the Chico River will not be allowed; the constriction of the dam in the Chico River is a threat to the tourism activities of the City,” added the petition.

The NCIP maintains consultations were done in accordance to the laws.

Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on May 03, 2017.

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