International Day of Action Against Dams 2005
The Cordillera Peoples Alliance website
Posted: March 17, 2005
DAM AFFECTED COMMUNITIES JOIN INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST DAMS
March 14, 2005
Hundreds of dam-affected people in the country join the International Day of Action against Dams, and for Rivers and People. “We are in protest today with other dam affected peoples of the world in order to call the attention of governments, dam builders and funders to stop building more destructive dams and for the compensation, rehabilitation and de-commissioning of existing useless dams. ” This was the statement of Susie Tampoya a farmer displaced by the contruction of the San Roque Dam project.
In Dagupan city, more than 400 farmers, gold panners and indigenous peoples under TIMMAWA- alliance of farmers along the Agno river and Cordillera Peoples Alliance(CPA) are gathered for a forum and protest action calling for the de-commisioning of the infamous San Roque Dam and the just compensation of thousands of farmers and goldpanners. Also in Manila, around 300 indigenous peoples and farmers from Southern Tagalog to be affected by the construction of the Laiban Dam which will displace 10,000 families are poised to hold a picket- demonstration infront of the ADB office with a call for them not to fund this destructive project. Likewise, more than 100 from various concerned sectors are gathered in Kibawe, Bukidnon for a protest gathering against the construction of the Pulangi Dam V that will displace 9,000 families. The protest actions in the Philippines is coordinated by the River Watch East and Southeast Asia (RWESA)-Philippine Network.
March 14 has been declared as the Day of Action against Dams, for Rivers
and People during the international meeting of dam affected peoples that
was held in Brazil in March 1997. Since then, global actions againts large
dams have intensified and solidarity of affected communities, together
with NGOs has been strengthened.
Protesters are also urging the national government to adopt and implement the guidelines set by the World Commission on Dams (WCD) based on a rights-based approach to development. The WCD independent report claims that large dams have not been development-effective, causing the displacement of 40-80 million people,and millions more of downstream communites are adversely affected. The 45,000 large dams in the world also fragmented and damaged 60 % of the worlds rivers. The report also state that large dams building is marred with corruption and favored politicians, governments, dam builders and funders such as the World Bank, yet they have not been held accountable to the tremendous adverse impacts of large dams. On the otherhand, the target level of benefits of water supply, irrigation and flood control were not achieved.
Ms Joan Carling, the facilitator of RWESA, and Chairperson of CPA Alliance(CPA) said that “ the era of large dam building in developed countries is now coming to an end, and de-commissioning of dams has started in the US and Europe to restore damaged rivers. However, large dam building continues in developing countries such as the Philippines, because of the promotion of the World Bank, and the expected huge amount of foreign investments which is proven to be a major source of corruption, while investors and dam builders are guaranteed return of investment and super profits. The development and promotion of sustainable alternatives for energy development and water supply management is gaining more ground and wider global support ” Carling concluded #
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO THE PRESS STATEMENT:
The construction of the San Roque Dam displaced 660 families and more
Likewise, even with an average of 85 megawatt of power generation compared to the target of 345 megawatts, the NPC has been paying SRPC the amount of nearly US$ 10 million a month in accordance to the anomalous contract of this project. The total cost of the San Roque Dam is US $ 1.2 billion of which US $ 400 million was loaned by the Philippines government and provided guarantee to the US$ 500 million loan of SRPC from JBIC and Japanese Banks. Clearly, this project is causing more damage, poverty and financial burden than development. The government must then revoke the contract of this project, stop its payment to SRPC, and de-commission this expensive, useless and destructive dam in order to avert more disasters.
The plan to build Pulangi Dam V will result to the displacement of more than 9,000 families in 7 municipalities of Bukidnon and Cotabato. Around 78,000 hectares will be inundated, 40,000 hectares of this are the ancestral domains of the Manobos.Likewise, the burial ground of “Tabunaway”, the ancestors of the Subanen and Manobo will be submerged. If constructed, this will be the biggest and tallest dam in Mindanao at 125 meters high and targeted to generate 348 megawatts. NATABUK, an umbrella organization of indigenous peoples is spearheading the opposition to this project, and has been holding dialogues and various protest activities including their participation to the International Day of Action against Dams.
The Laiban Dam is a major government project which the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System ( MWSS) has identified to provide 1,900 million liters of water per day for the future use of Metro Manila. ADB is one possible major funder of this dam project, estimated to cost US $ 1.2 billion. The ADB reportedly financed US $ 6 million for technical assistance and feasibility study for the relocation of affected communities in the boundaries of Rizal and Quezon provinces.
The construction of Laiban dam will result in the displacement of around
10,000 people to include the dumagats and Remontado in Rizal and Quezon
Because of the growing international concern on the adverse impacts of large dams, the World Commission on Dams (WCD), an independent multi-stakeholders commission was formed in 1998 with the support of the World Bank. It conducted a thorough study on large dam projects all over the world and came out with a very comprehensive report in November 2000. The findings of the WCD showed that large dams caused the displacement of 40- 80 million people, adverse impacts on more millions of people downstream. Indigenous peoples suffer disproportionately from dams and also widens the gender disparity.
In terms of its targets, 70% of water supply target was not met, almost half of dams for irrigation have underperformed and dams for floodcontrol actually increased the vulnerability to downtream communities. For multipurpose dams, there is an average of 56% cost overruns, meaning the projected cost has been grossly under-estimated. Dams have also staggering environmental impacts with 60% of the world’s rivers being fragmented by 45,000 large dams and these have caused the flooding of unique wildlife and rich agricultural lands.
The WCD report also pointed out that large dams are favored by politicians, government, international financing agencies and dam-building companies. Likewise, corruption and vested interests distorted decision-making for the approval of such projects, inspite of potential adverse impacts and opposition. There is also lack of accountability of dam builders, while they are guaranteed return of investments and profits.
With these findings ,the WCD report also presented a different approach to development which is called a “rights and risks approach” in order to address the outstanding impacts of large dams. This proposal is a new development framework based on the recognition of rights (affected communities)and the assessment of risks. It also calls for an end to the “ balance sheet” approach of assessing costs and benefits which is limited to economic figures. Further, it promotes a negotiated agreements in an open and transparent manner with all stakeholders, and sustainable alternative energy development and water supply management.
Civil society groups and institutions welcomed the WCD report and they have been conducting information, lobby and advocacy on the adoption and implementation of the WCD recommendations. The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) was involved in the WCD consultations because of its campaign against the San Roque Dam. It is now promoting the WCD report and sustainable alternatives to energy development and water supply management.