Fight against Kaliwa dam a matter of ‘survival,’ says prelate

September 11, 2020 - 1:14 PM
A “No to Kaliwa Dam” tarp posted outside the St. Mark and the Child Jesus Cathedral in Infanta, Quezon. (CBCP News/Released)

The local Catholic Church in Quezon province renewed their opposition to the multibillion mega dam project, saying their fight is a matter of survival of the people.

Bishop Bernardino Cortez of Infanta reiterated that the Kaliwa Dam project poses risks to lowland agricultural and fishing communities with a history of flash flooding.

The prelature, which covers the northern part of Quezon and the Aurora province, lies along the Sierra Madre Mountain Range and on the east of the vast Pacific Ocean.

The area is also home to thousands of Dumagats, an indigenous community in the highlands of Infanta.

“So, you will understand by geography our very survival depends on the care of our mountains, forests, rivers, protection of mangroves and seashores,” Cortez said.

The prelate made the statement a video message for this year’s Season of Creation.

The P12.2 billion China-funded Kaliwa Dam is among the government’s priority projects as a long-term solution to Metro Manila’s water woes.

The prelate argued that the dam would also pose danger to the environment as the project falls within the Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve.

Cortez urged the government to instead look for alternative sources of water such as watershed rehabilitation and improving existing dams and water facilities.

“We hope and pray that our people in this ‘Jubilee for the Earth’ will develop a new mindset and a paradigm shift in our care and use of the common home,” he said.

In February, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines added its voice to those against the dam construction.

The bishops also called for “proper review” of the project “to correct its flawed procedures”.