#LOOK: The Dumagat community’s nine-day march that began on Wednesday, February 15, is calling for the protection of the environment and the rights of indigenous communities, with the primary aim of canceling the proposed Kaliwa Dam project. The controversial project is expected to receive P12 billion funding from China and is said to flood more than 9000 hectares of the Upper Marikina Watershed and the Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve in the Sierra Madre Biodiversity Corridor. Furthermore, 1465 Dumagat families will be displaced from their ancestral lands if the project proceeds.
Environmentalists are joining the cause and urging the public to show support for the Dumagat community’s fight for the protection of their ancestral lands and the environment. The Sierra Madre region is a crucial conservation site in the country, making it vital to prevent the construction of the dam project.
The movement is gaining ground, with people from various parts of the country expressing their solidarity by providing food and water for the marchers, who have not worked for nine days. The movement is also gaining traction on social media, with hashtags such as #CancelKaliwaDam, #SagipinAngSierraMadre, #ProtectIndigenousRights, and #SaveTheEnvironment trending.
The march is expected to arrive in Antipolo late afternoon on February 21, and the marchers will stay overnight at Kapitolyo. On February 22, they will march from Antipolo to Ateneo, via Tikling, with an ETA of 5 pm at the Salubong Gate 2.5 area. On February 23, there will be a 7 am Ateneo de Manila University mass at Gesu, followed by a march to Malacañang at 8 am.
The march aims to raise awareness and pressure the government to cancel the Kaliwa Dam project. The movement reminds us that we only have one planet, and it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect it.However, the government insists that the Kaliwa Dam project will provide additional water supply for Metro Manila and nearby provinces, which have been experiencing water shortages in recent years. The project is also expected to generate jobs and boost economic activity in the area when completed.
The Dumagat community’s march has put the spotlight on the need for development and progress to go hand in hand with the preservation of the environment and the rights of indigenous communities. The movement urges the government to consider alternative solutions to the water crisis and avoid the destruction of critical conservation sites.#NowYouKnow#NYK