Instead of benefits, the construction of the Kaliwa Dam will only cause damage, a lawmaker said.
This was emphasized yesterday by Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat. Hence, he called on the government to stop constructing the proposed dam and even all large-scale destructive mining operations amidst the ravages of strong typhoons in the country.
“Sa loob ng dalawang buwan, nanalasa sa ating bansa ang tatlong bagyo na nag-iwan ng mga malala-king pinsala sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa na nagdulot ng matinding pagbaha, landslide, pagkawasak ng agrikultura, imprastraktura, kabahayan habang marami rin ang nasawi,” said Cullamat.
According to the solon, despite the tragedy caused by destructive activities, projects destroying nature, particularly mining, are still rampant in the mountains and forests.
“Kaya dapat nang ihinto ang mga mapanirang proyektong ito. Hindi kaunlaran, kundi panganib ang idudulot nito sa taumbayan,” said Cullamat.
Cullamat pointed out that mega dams such as the Kaliwa Dam are not a solution to water resources but would greatly affect the Lumads.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday defended the construction of Kaliwa Dam amid online petitions to cancel the project due to possible deforestation of Sierra Madre.
Kaliwa Dam to cause more harm than good
DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones assured the public that the Kaliwa Dam project would undergo a thorough study upon implementation.
“Yung Kaliwa Dam, kung ang ikinatatakot nila ay magkakaroon ng massive deforestation, palagay ko hindi naman papayag ang ating departamento kung masisira ang ating kagubatan diyan,” Leones said.
“Sa aming pananaw, ito ay dumadaan sa masusing pagre-review. Sa mga dapat nila i-comply, hangga’t maari, wala po talagang masisirang mga puno at dapat maigi ang konsultasyon na ginagawa,” he added.
Petitions to cancel the Kaliwa Dam project surfaced amid the widespread flooding in Cagayan Valley and Isabela.
Some officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte and Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, blamed illegal logging and mining for the “worst” flooding in the province in 40 years.
According to Leones, DENR is taking care of Sierra Madre through law enforcement, planting programs, and local communities’ assistance.