A JOINT Senate panel will look into the construction of the Kaliwa Dam project in Quezon and Rizal provinces Tuesday and its possible impact on indigenous peoples (IPs).
The Senate committees on cultural communities, public works and finance will tackle Senate Resolution No. 76, particularly on the displacement of IPs or the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs).
The Resolution argued that under Republic Act No. 8371, or the The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, requires projects to obtain free and prior informed consent (FPIC) from IPs and ICCs.
“Despite the requirement of free and prior informed consent, as provided by RA 8371, the IPs/ICCs oppose and state that no consent was obtained,” according to the resolution, filed by Senator Imee R. Marcos.
“The Sectors Opposed to the Kaliwa Dam, or ‘STOP Kaliwa Dam,’ said that the government was merely using the present water crisis to aggressively push the project.”
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is set to complete the community assemblies with Quezon IPs through the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) next month.
The New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project intends to supply 600 million liters per day; which can be expanded to 2,400 MLD when a conveyance pipe is connected to the Kanan River.
The Resolution noted that as of March 2019, Manila Water Co., Inc. can no longer service its concession area’s 1,600-1,740 MLD demand.
The project is funded through a $211-million loan agreement between the MWSS and the Export-Import Bank of China, signed on Nov. 20, 2018.
The planned Kaliwa Dam Project is also among the China-funded projects that face scrutiny over the presence of a provision that will pledge Philippine “patrimonial assets” as collateral.
The MWSS, meanwhile, was questioned by the Commission on Audit for irregularities in its selection process which allowed potential contractors to bid without meeting all the eligibility requirements. — Charmaine A. Tadalan