The Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP) is calling the Philippine government to stop the construction of large dams in the country as the world observes the International Day of Action against Dams, for Rivers, Water and Life on Saturday.
“Dams physically alter rivers and deplete their water, which serves as the bloodline of numerous communities, especially indigenous peoples,” TFIP said in a statement.
TFIP cited cases of “serious losses in biodiversity and food sources originally found in rivers, all the way from the reservoir sites to downstream of these dams.” The water contained in some of these dams are not even fit for human and animal consumption as they are located near mining projects and commercial agriculture with highly toxic chemical inputs, the group said.
The government is currently pushing for the construction of more large dams including the Pulangi Mega Dam V in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, the Kaliwa or Laiban Dam in Rizal and Quezon, the Jalaur dam in Panay and the Balog-balog Dam in Tarlac.
TFIP said there is widespread opposition by indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities, and their advocates “because of the serious threats these dam projects pose to their continued survival.”
“Another concern is that these dams will be constructed even without the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous communities. All large dams built before did not pass through legitimate FPIC processes with affected indigenous communities located upstream and downstream of the dams,” the group said.
The day was declared as such by an international gathering of peoples affected by dams in Curitiba, Brazil in 1997.