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IPs approval needed before Kaliwa Dam construction, NCIP says

Any construction done in areas inhabited by the indigenous peoples must first secure the approval of the communities, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) said.

The NCIP issued this statement as the water concessionaires began with preliminary works in a portion of Quezon province where the Kaliwa Dam will be constructed.

"There's something wrong in the sense that they must have the permission of the IPs. Anybody who comes to the ancestral domain must ask permission from the communities," NCIP chair Allen Capuyan said on Maki Pulido's Tuesday report on 24 Oras. 

According to Republic Act 83711, indigenous peoples have "the right to claim over lands, bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICC)  or IPs, sacred places, traditional hunting, and fishing grounds."

The law also states that permission of the IPs affected is required for projects to be able to use their ancestral domains.

However, in a statement, MWSS on Tuesday said that the Indigenous Cultural Communities of Rizal and Quezon provinces have already adopted a resolution of consent for the project.

There is also already a relocation site in place for the affected residents, MWSS said.

According to the regulator,  the relocation site for the IPs will be at Sitio Cablao in General Nakar, Quezon, a few kilometers away from the Kaliwa Dam.

MWSS data also showed that 46 individuals will be directly affected while 378 will be indirectly affected.

"Yung bahay nila is much, much better kung saan sila nanggaling. Yan ang aking commitment sa kanila," MWSS chair Reynaldo Velasco said.

However, NCIP argued that no such talk has occurred, adding that as of the moment they had no exact estimate on the number of residents affected.

"You do not just tell them where to transfer. You must consult the community where they wanted to transfer," Capuyan said.

No agreement has yet been reached on the amount of compensation the affected residents will receive.

"You cannot pay somebody when you have not agreed on something. That is still a work on progress," Capuyan added.

China Energy Engineering Corporation has already received a notice to proceed to construct the $12.2 billion Kaliwa Dam, according to the report.

"Yung mga kalsada papunta doon sa dam, kalsada papunta doon sa treatment plants, ginagawa na yan. Yung pagbili ng lupa doon sa area na paglalagyan ng treatment plants, sa dadaanan ng mga tunnels, ginagawa na rin yan ng mga concessionaires," Velasco said. —Joahna Lei Casilao/LDF, GMA News