FACT CHECK: Catholic Church never issued a statement supporting Kaliwa Dam project

Feb. 28, 2023

CLAIM: A graphic posted on Facebook (FB) claimed the Catholic Church in the Philippines supports the controversial Kaliwa Dam project.

On February 23, FB page Namulat – Central Luzon posted a photo showing a supposed statement issued by Fr. Antonio Labiao, Jr., executive secretary of Caritas Philippines and convenor of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) National Laudato Si Program (NLSP) along with Bp. Jose Colin Bagaforo, chairperson of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice, and Peace.

“The Catholic Church in the Philippines is not against development as long as it does not sacrifice the COMMON GOOD in the name of progress. WE SUPPORT KALIWA DAM PROJECT,” reads the text in the graphic. 

The FB page also wrote a caption saying it’s the communist rebels who are against development in areas where projects like the Kaliwa Dam would be located as it would affect their recruitment for the New People’s Army.


FACTS: The graphic, originally published by the CBCP-NLSP in 2021, has been digitally altered.

The original image never bore the text, “WE SUPPORT KALIWA DAM PROJECT.”  Contrary to the false post, CBCP-NLSP’s 2021 statement reaffirms the stand of the Catholic hierarchy that the mega-dam project “is against inclusive development.”

They warned that the China-funded dam project would severely damage the environment and affect the lives of Dumagat communities.

In a public notice last February 24, Caritas Philippines debunked the said FB post. The CBCP’s advocacy arm reiterated they are “strongly against” the Kaliwa Dam project.

Recently, over 300 farmers and indigenous people from General Nakar in Quezon province have marched towards Malacañang Palace in Manila to protest the construction of the Kaliwa Dam.

Davao Today is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph.

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