Tabuk City, Kalinga ― Congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang affirms support to the government’s effort to utilize water resources without discarding the rightful respect and gain for the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) during the Congressional Hearing on the issues concerning the Kaliwa Dam Project held on June 09.
Dam projects have been seen a necessity in the country due to problems of irrigation and other water-related dilemma.
One of the biggest projects on dams in the country is the Kaliwa Dam Project.
The P12.2 billion Kaliwa Dam Project is a joint venture of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) traversing the provinces of Rizal and Quezon.
The project is expected to service thousands of hectares of agricultural lands and support farmers in a bid to increase production among other benefits. Nevertheless, there are issues regarding its possible effects on indigenous communities which need careful consideration.
Issues on the lives of indigenous communities
Congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang related that a series of congressional inquiry was conducted to find ways in addressing the issues as the project affects the lives of the indigenous communities and indigenous peoples.
“We would like to conclude this hearing as soon as we have all information that we need in order to arrive with a fair and equitable conclusion,” he expressed.
The Congressman clarified that the purpose of the appeal was not to further delay the implementation of Kaliwa Dam Project but to rather properly work out on the request of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) officials and the affected IPs.
Furthermore, Mangaoang said that their committee stands firm on responsible exploration and utilization of natural resources ensuring the betterment of the lives of the people. There is, however, a necessity to take into account how the ICCs/IPs safeguard their ancestral domains where their lives and identities are permanently rooted.
“When both necessities are met, we are willing to arrive at the compromise, a communal sacrifice as the case may be for indigenous communities and indigenous people, and we want to ensure that they will be given what is due to their compromise as well,” he stated.
Congressman Mangaoang always one with the IPs
The Congressman has called the decision makers of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its partner China Engineering to further view the side of the IPs.
Mangaoang added that he as well as the committee will always be one with the IPs to advocate and to serve them to get what is rightfully theirs, saying the benefits should return to them, be it thru financial gains or other material benefits.
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