Groups opposing Kaliwa Dam press Palace to release copies of PH-China deals

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2019 07:57 PM

MANILA - Malacanang has been urged to release the copies of official documents related to the controversial Kaliwa Dam, a project that will be financed through a loan with China.

In a letter sent to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin on Thursday, groups led by Senate hopeful and lawyer Chel Diokno specifically asked for copies of the Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System and Export-Import Bank of China, and the Commercial Contract between the MWSS and China Energy Engineering Corporation.

Diokno invoked the Constitutional right of the people to access to official documents as he warned of the worst-case scenario of China taking over the dam.

“We are also concerned that these contracts may contain onerous concerns, hindi natin malalaman yan kung itatago nila ang mga papeles na ito. (We will not know about it if they will hide the documents),” Diokno said.

Catholic priest Fr. Pete Montallana of the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance also expressed concerns on the possible environmental impact of the dam as the area is prone to natural calamities.

“Nababahala din ang Simbahan na 100,000 na Filipino na nasa panganib dahil nagkaroon na ng flashflood sa Infanta nung 2004 at may trauma na po ang mga tao rito at wala namang mabibigay na maayos na pag-aaral na ito ba ay magiging safe itong dam na to,” Fr. Montallana said.

(The Catholic Church is worried that 100,000 Filipinos are in danger because a flash flood occurred in 2004 and residents there have been traumatized. They can't give us a decent study pertaining to the safety of the dam.)

Dumagat leader Marcelino Tena also opposed the project which he claims will displace indigenous peoples.

“Kami po ay tuwiran na tumututol, hindi namin papahintulutan dahil ilegal ang kanilang pagpasok ng project sa Quezon,” Tena said.

(We outright oppose the project, we will not allow it because the entry of their project in Quezon is illegal.)

Members of the indigenous Dumagat who live in the Sierra Madre mountains have also said that they don't want the Kaliwa dam constructed on their ancestral domain.