2 IPs groups get P80 million each as disturbance fee for Kaliwa Dam project
Two indigenous peoples groups were paid P80 million each by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the Kaliwa Dam construction project.
According to Lei Alviz's Tuesday "24 Oras" report, after eight years of negotiations, the MWSS was now confident there were no longer any problems in the dam's construction as the IPs had given their consent.
Included in the agreement was the provision that the land on which the project would be built would remain the IP's property, and they would also receive government assistance.
On Tuesday, a welcoming and thanksgiving ritual was performed by the Dumagat-Remontado at the MWSS Compound in Quezon City as part of the turnover ceremony of the disturbance fees.
The two indigenous people's organizations that received the P80 million fees were from Tanay, Rizal, and General Nakar, Quezon.
According to one of the gemot or community elders, the importance of the Kaliwa Dam and how it would supply water to Metro Manila and its neighboring areas was explained to them.
“Pumayag kami na inyong kunin. Pero siyempre kung kaunlaran yan, dapat kami kabahagi dyan. Dahil marami nang programa ang ating pamahalaan na, kung tinitingnan, ang mga katutubo ay hindi napapasama,” said Dumagat-Remontado community elder Bayani “Bakne” Askaraga.
"It is a recognition that they are the owners of the ancestral domain, so walang transfer of ownership doon sa area. So para ka lang umuupa. Walang inaagaw na lupa, the ownership of the IPs over the area,” said Josefina Rodriguez-Agusti, Regional Hearing Officer/Designated spokesperson on Kaliwa Dam.
Based on the memorandum of agreement, the disturbance fees would be allocated to livelihood, education, and cultural enhancement programs.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples would guide the groups in implementing such programs.
“Dito po sa amin kahit malapit lang sa Metro Manila o kung yung tawagin niyong Quezon, napaka-wala kaming nakapag-aral. Kung meron man, eh talagang napaka-mababang ano pa. Gusto rin namin maabot yung mga naaabot ng ibang tribo na may mga abugado, mga doktor, iba pang mga kurso,” Bakne added.
When the Kaliwa dam starts to operate, each of the 46 indigenous communities in Rizal and Quezon will receive P1 million in financial assistance each year.
A resettlement location will also be allocated in the area for 66 families that will be directly affected.
“Wala na tayong problema sa pagpapatuloy ng Kaliwa Dam project, sa side ng ating mga katutubong kapatid. Pero ito ay simula pa lang. Sa construction tayo ay patuloy na makikipag-niig, makikipag-ugnayan sa ating mga katutubo,” said MWSS Administrator Leonor Cleofas.
According to the water security roadmap, the Kaliwa Dam will be completed by the end of 2026 and will be operational by the beginning of 2027.
The dam was expected to supply 600 million liters of water per day.
However, there were still protests against the project, including a march that started from General Nakar, Quezon.
The march is on its seventh day and was in Antipolo, Rizal.
The protesters were expected to arrive in Metro Manila on Wednesday.
The protesters argued that the Kaliwa Dam project threatened the lives and security of the IPs and would destroy the environment. — Sherylin Untalan/DVM, GMA Integrated News