Irrigation admin failed to convince IPs for 2nd Panay dam project

TAPAZ, Capiz – In what the indigenous peoples (IP) Panay-Bukidnon called a “pseudo” consultation, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) failed to convince the tumandoks and get their approval for the construction of the Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project (PRBIDP) or Pan-ay mega dam.

About 75 opposing Tumandok from five also-affected villages held a picket protest last Friday, March 18, against the meeting being held in Tapaz Civic Center, Capiz Province.

According to Marevic Aguirre, chairperson of the TUMANDUK organization, the consultation did not include other affected barangays including her own Barangay Lahug, which she also served as chieftain.

“Sa anda nga miting, 12 lang ka barangay ang nagtambong sa 19 ka barangay nga apektado sang dam. Ang iban wara tana nagtambong,” said Aguirre.

(Only 12 of the 19 affected barangays attended the consultation. Others did not bother to attend.)

“Waay nanda kami ginpasulod kay wara kuno kami imbitasyon. Pero apektado ang haros katunga ka parangabuhian namon sa Lahug nga malumos,” she quipped.

(We were not allowed because we don’t have an invitation. But the irony is almost half of our livelihood area in Lahug will be affected and submerged in water.)

The protest led by TUMANDUK organization chanted “NIA kag NCIP, butigon!” (NIA and NCIP, Liars!) outside the civic center.

“Dapat lamang nga iduso namon ang amon kinamatarung kay kami apektado man sang proyekto. Malumos amon mga kadutaan kag maduraan kami sang palangabuhian, te insat indi nanda tamon patambungon?” Aileen Catamin, TUMANDUK vice chairperson asked.

(We are just exercising our rights because we are affected also. Our lands will be submerged and our livelihood will be lost. Why are they preventing us from joining the meeting?)

“Gani haros katunga sang anda tumarambong nag-walkout bangud indi sanda maghirisugot. Kag asta subong, ang mga promisa nga mga proyekto sang NIA nga access road kag eskwelahan wara nagtupa,” Catamin added.

(That’s why almost half of the delegates walked-out because they are divided with the decision. Also, because until now, NIA’s promises of access road and school are not yet implemented.)

In March 7, 2014 in a stakeholders’ forum on Pan-ay mega dam held in Mambusao, Capiz, NIA regional director Gerardo Corsiga said the project will irrigate 28,000 hectares of land, generate 48 megawatts, and deliver 1-2 cubic meter per second potable water for commercial and domestic use.

The project is projected to cost from P22-27 billion pesos, twice the amount of the P11 billion Jalaur mega dam.

“Mabaskog ang amon panindugan nga indi kami gusto sang dam nga porma sang paglanggab sang amon kadutaan. Sa lupa nga daya kami nabuhi, sa lupa nga daya kami mapatay,” Aguirre ended.

(Our resolve is strong in opposing the dam that will grab our lands. We live on this land and will die for it.)/PT


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