A group of over 300 indigenous peoples (IPs) started on February 15, 2023, a nine-day protest march against the construction of the Kaliwa Dam from General Nakar in Quezon province to the Malacañang Palace. Only a part of the indigenous groups had accepted compensation payments. In a letter to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the protest group said they strongly oppose the government’s construction plan for the Chinese-funded dam. The proposed dam would destroy their habitat and culture, explained the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL). However, the government did not listen to the indigenous groups after their 150 kilometre peaceful protest march.
The dam is intended to provide an expanded water supply for Metro Manila. Permits had already been obtained in order to begin the dam construction in December 2022. However, as a result, according to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System 46 families living near the dam will have to be relocated. The Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance even estimates that around 1,465 families would be adversely affected by the construction. The Stop Kaliwa Dam network, consisting of farmers, fishermen and environmental groups, supported the march and also mentioned possible alternatives such as watershed restoration and integrative landscape management as well as water recycling and wastewater treatment.
Photo © Johannes Icking