A diagram showing areas that will be affected once the Kaliwa Dam project starts construction (illustration from MWSS website)

Two groups rose up to either support or oppose the controversial Kaliwa Dam project.

Fr. Pete Montallana, a priest and head of the indigenous peoples groups (IPs) Save Sierra Madre Network said five out of the six community clusters are resisting the project as they would lose their homes, farms, and access to the river, the Philippine Star reported.

However, a farmers group threw its support behind the project

The Angat-Bustos-Pandi Irrigation Association (ANBUSPA) filed a resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately begin construction of the dam as they will seek to benefit from irrigation.

An Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the project was obtained by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“With the issuance of this ECC, you are expected to implement the measures presented in the environmental impact statements intended to protect and mitigate the project’s adverse impacts on community health, welfare and the environment,” EMB Director Metodio Turbella said  

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu reiterated to the MWSS that it should ensure the implementation of the appropriate environmental and social safeguards as EMB will strictly oversee MWSS’ compliance with the conditions stated in the ECC.

The certificate calls for the strict implementation of an Information, Education and Communication Program on its stakeholders of action plans in addressing the project’s adverse effects on the environment, which includes disaster risk reduction measures.

The project must protect and preserve the sites considered sacred by the IP communities such as the Tinipak Spring and Tinipak White Rocks, burial grounds and the culture and livelihood of the indigenous people found in the area.

Kaliwa Dam is envisioned to be a medium-term water source for Metro Manila to complement Angat dam and increase supply by 600 million liters daily. (Jojo Mangahis)