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“Our Land, Our Rivers, Ours to Defend! SN Aboitiz, OUT of our ancestral domain!” Ifugao villagers strongly say No to Alimit Dam.

February 24, 2020

Community leaders from Hapid, Nammug, Dulao, Banga and Tupaya from the towns of Lamut and Lagawe in Ifugao trooped to the regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) to submit a copy of their resolution strongly affirming their opposition and NON-CONSENT to the 390MW Alimit Hydropower Complex of SN-Aboitiz. They shall also furnish the agency with a copy of the minutes of the assembly which gathered around 160 individuals from the affected communities and held on February 15, 2019 in Hapid, Lamut. The resolution was duly-signed by 136 people.

According to Tupaya IP leader Benedict Tanguid, “Contrary to the claims of SN-Aboitiz that the issues have been resolved, the affected communities continue to strongly oppose the project because of the undeniable impacts to the livelihood and homes of farmers, indigenous culture and the environment.”

Tanguid said that the free, prior and informed consent is being manipulated by the company in order to push through with the project despite visible opposition on the ground. “We quickly assembled last Saturday because of imminent threats that the construction of the destructive dam will push through despite the absence of consent from the indigenous peoples. We reiterate, no consensus has been built and therefore SN Aboitiz has NO CONSENT to pursue the project.”

“As a follow-up to our petition submitted to the NCIP in February 2019 which was signed by more than 700 residents, the attendees of the assembly affirmed through a resolution our continuing community resistance to the dam construction, tunneling and river diversion in the Ayangan ancestral lands,” Tanguid added.

The group will also submit copies of the said resolution to the NCIP office in Ifugao, Ifugao local government units, SN Aboitiz and other stakeholders.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance Secretary General Bestang Dekdeken noted that the community assembly held last Saturday, February 15, and submission of resolution to the NCIP Regional Office is solid proof that the residents are resolute in their position against the proposed Alimit Dam. Thus, there is no Free Prior and Informed Consent to the project.

“The NCIP should recognize that there is strong resistance from the Ayangan indigenous peoples in Lamut and Lagawe towns. The voices of the farmers and residents should not be drowned by the selfish interests of some individuals in the project,” Dekdeken said.

After officially submitting their petition and the copy of minutes of the February 15 assembly, the delegation was able to talk to Atty. Atanacio Addog, who took note of the concerns of the affected indigenous peoples. He committed to look into the issues raised such as the efforts to hide the overwhelming opposition to the river diversion and dam constructions. The CPA and Ifugao IP leaders then challenged the NCIP to ensure that the interests of the indigenous peoples should be their priority.#

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