China-Funded Dam Endangers Philippine Indigenous Communities

An indigenous community opposes the Kaliwa Dam project, highlighting the conflict between progress and environmental preservation.

“We are not against progress. Progress is something all of us want for ourselves, for our families and communities; but not everything that gets built – buildings, bridges, and, yes, dams—can be said to bring progress when they destroy the natural environment. It’s not progress if it means driving indigenous people away from their ancestral lands,” said Marcelino Tena, 60 years old, a member of the Dumagat-Remontados, a tribe of indigenous Filipinos who have lived in the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines long before the Philippines was first “discovered” and then colonized by Spain in the year 1521.  

The Dumagat-Remontados are a subgroup of the Dumagat people. Remontados means “those who went up” in Spanish, and it refers to the Dumagat people who fled to the mountains to escape Spanish colonial rule during the 16th century. The Remontados have managed to preserve their traditional way of life, which involves subsistence farming, hunting, and gathering.

Tatay Lino, a leader of the Dumagat-Remontados, has for the last six years been at the forefront of the campaign against the construction of the Kaliwa Dam project, which threatens the way of life, environment and biodiversity.

Read the full story here.

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