Petition to stop controversial dam project surfaces amid Dumagat-Remontado tribes march

February 21, 2023 - 7:38 PM
The arduous trek of the Dumagat-Remontado indigenous peoples to oppose the Kaliwa Dam Project (StopKaliwaDam/Twitter)

A network of concerned organizations asked the public to sign its petition that opposes the construction of the controversial Kaliwa Dam Project.

This network called Stop Kaliwa Dam posted an online petition that stated the major environmental and economic consequences that will happen should the dam push through.

This was in line with the start of an important protest march by indigenous groups on February 15.

Around 300 members of the Dumagat-Remontado tribes took part in the march. Their homes and livelihood will be affected by the China-funded dam.

Called “Alay Lakad”, this arduous trek for their cause started from the Quezon Province and will end in Malacañang on February 23.

“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,” reads the post from the Stop Kaliwa Dam network.

Greenpeace Philippines, the Alyanasa Tigil Mina and other concerned groups expressed their support for this campaign to oppose the Kaliwa Dam’s construction via social media.

What the petition states 

The petition via, meanwhile, has been ongoing since plans for the dam to be built in the Sierra Madre, touted as the backbone of Luzon, were unveiled.

It has so far gathered over 200,000 signatures of the needed 300,000.

The petition can be accessed here Petition · Stop Kaliwa Dam, Save our Future! ·

It is addressed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Congress and Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“The Kaliwa Dam Project violates legal processes and the Philippine Constitution, is destructive to the environment, and is against the country’s national interest,” it reads.

Stop Kaliwa Dam Network also made emphasis the dam’s ramifications in the Sierra Madre, the people of Luzon and the indigenous groups who lived at the site where the dam will be built.

Some of them are as follows:

  • Affect the ancestral forests where 5,000 Dumagat-Remontados reside in the Sierra Madre
  • Destroy the biodiversity and habitat of 126 species in 300 hectares of the Sierra Madre
  • Submerge at least six sacred sites and 291 hectares of forests
  • Endanger 100,000 residents downstream with the risk of massive flooding

The Sierra Madre is the longest mountain range in the Philippines that covers the northeast coast of Luzon.

It is also where 20 of the country’s protected areas and forests are located. These include the La Mesa Watershed Reservation and the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscapes.

The clamor to save the Sierra Madre and the opposition against the dam has strengthened over the years following the onslaught of two strong storms during the COVID-19 pandemic—Typhoon Ulysses and Typhoon Karding.

READ: Calls to preserve Sierra Madre mountain range renewed after ‘Ulysses’ onslaught | ‘Save Sierra Madre today, every day’: Renewed calls after ‘Karding’s’ wrath