The members of the tribe of Agta-Dumagat-Remontado in Quezon and Rizal, the Kaliwa Dam project sites, asked President Rodrigo Duterte to regard them as human beings.
This is in response to Duterte’s statement on Monday, October 29, that he would use all the presidency’s powers to see the Kaliwa Dam project through and put an end to Metro Manila’s water shortage. According to Duterte, he will use the presidency’s extraordinary powers to ensure the completion of the plan.
We are humans. We belong to the same race, said Madelyn, a Dumagat youth leader, so we ask him as a human not to use force against us because they will harm women, elders, and children. Pigtaanan ni Dumaget Remontado di General Nakar Quezon’s Henry Borreo also emphasized their right to their ancestral land.
We have a right to our ancestral lands, but the president and government are the first to abuse them, rather than protecting our rights, he said.
AGTA, a Dumagat organization based in Quezon province’s General Nakar, said their lives would be destroyed by the project.
Our land is where we get our food. It’s our livelihood. Not only do they take our land, but they also take our lives, said the spokesman for the group.
The Dumagat and Remontado also fear that the Philippines ‘ climate crisis will be worsened by the Kaliwa Dam.
The effects of climate change can already be felt. Seasons have been shifting.
They will kill thousands of trees in the Sierra Madre if they build the dam, and this will affect not just us Dumagat and Remontado, but millions and millions of Filipinos, said Meleng Rutuqeio, AGTA’s kaksaan or captain.
The Sierra Madre mountain range, which stretches from the north of Cagayan to the south of Metro Manila province of Quezon, has defied the Philippines ‘ most powerful typhoons. It also acts as a storm surge defense.
Duterte said on Monday that there was not enough reason for environmental violations to delay the project. He emphasized that his primary concern was the welfare of the people in the National Capital Region affected by water shortage.
Nevertheless, the Dumagat and Remontado expressed doubts that ordinary Filipinos would profit from the building of the Kaliwa Dam.
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