SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
09 June 2021 05:46:52 PM
House Committee on Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples chaired by Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang approved the motion for the committee to issue a resolution calling for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and other agencies involved in the Kaliwa Dam Project to cease and desist from initiating, performing or doing any activities inside the affected ancestral domain of the Dumagats or indigenous peoples (IPs) in the absence of a completed or consummated Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process. The panel convened on Wednesday to continue its deliberation on the two resolutions calling for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, regarding the Kaliwa Dam Project. House Resolution 15 by BAYAN MUNA Rep. Eufemia Cullamat calls for an inquiry into the alleged water crisis and the revival and effects of the construction of the Kaliwa Dan and Laiban Dam projects. Meanwhile, HR 309 by Rizal Rep. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles seeks to investigate the New Centennial Water Source –Kaliwa Dam Project and its alleged anomalous award to China Energy Engineering Co. Limited. In his preliminary remarks, Mangaoang said in the previous meeting, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) informed the panel that the FPIC will be conducted in Quezon. “Some members of this committee expressed their desire to put the FPIC on hold temporarily, thus appealed to the NCIP to give the public hearing the congressional courtesy pending the findings therein,” he said. Mangaoang explained that the purpose of the appeal “was not to further delay the inevitable but rather to sit down with the NCIP officials and the IPs because we wanted to get to the bottom of the wishes of the affected communities and we want to help them communicate those requests.” He said they received information that the NCIP pushed through with the FPIC process and the community declined when they voted against the project. “This committee is not anti-development. We support the government’s efforts to utilize our water resources and harness the gifts of nature,” he said. Mangaoang said that what the committee stands firm is for responsible exploration and utilization of natural resources.