The Kaliwa Dam Project (KDP) has been subject to years of delay because of fierce environmental and indigenous peoples’ opposition, and has become a symbol in the wider campaign against dam construction in the country. The three (3) successful public hearings initiated by DENR-EMB and the MWSS in 23 August 2019 at General Nakar; 27 August 2019 at Teresa, Rizal; and on 28 August 2019 at Infanta, Quezon were steps forward, after many years of regulatory delays and hurdles.

The 120 attendees at the public hearing in General Nakar, Quezon Province presented an opportunity for MWSS to explain the social and environmental safeguards particularly on the issue of flooding and dam break and other hazards and risks mitigation measures, program for resettlement and land use, and recognition of the indigenous peoples rights.

Teresa, Rizal is host to two (2) critical components of the KDP, the tunnel outlet and water treatment plants. The Municipality Council of Teresa were among the first LGUs who gave its endorsement for the implementation of the project. Roughly 200 people, mostly municipal and barangay officials and residents of Teresa and Tanay, National Government agencies (NEDA, DILG, DPWH, NCIP, NIA, PNP, DepEd), NGOs, showed up at the Ynares Covered Court, Magsaysay Avenue, some to voice their concern while some spoke to what they see as the need for the project.

Infanta and General Nakar, Quezon Province is host to the location of the dam site. The Provincial Development Council of Quezon granted clearance to the implementation of the project which satisfied the remaining condition of the Regional Development Council-Region IV-A. The issues and concerns raised by the attendees centered on land acquisition, livelihood restoration, employment, compensation for affected families and community investments.

There were 338 attendees to the public hearing in Infanta, Quezon held at Chateau Marinero, Real Infanta Road, Barangay Comon. The attendees represent a broad spectrum of relevant stakeholders: vulnerable peoples group, local authorities, tribesmen, non-governmental and government groups. The hearing though heated ended with fruitful outcomes as it allowed one on one interaction between the attendees thus bridging the knowledge gaps and uncertainties. Concerns have been expressed regarding –

    1. Flooding and dam break especially in relation to recent earthquakes;
    2. Change in water quality which might affect the resident’s health;
    3. Livelihood programs and physical infrastructure in the new villages that will be built for the relocatees;
    4. Change in hydrology and ecology biodiversity;
    5. Loss of income and food insecurity due to loss of fish and agricultural land;
    6. Equitable compensation to the community

Mitigation measures on the above concerns were explained, such as additional structures and safeguards equipment, best engineering and management practices, capacity building and policy interventions, and vegetative rehabilitation of Kaliwa Dam and appurtenances.

MWSS welcomes meaningful consultations as it adds transparency resulting from the process of public consultation. Another public hearing on 2 September 2019 in Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal will be held to engage further the affected population and elicit mutual support and cooperation with the municipality.

With regard to MWSS’ compliance with Republic Act No. 8173 or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Acts, the MWSS through the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples has successfully completed the community assemblies on the six (6) clusters of IP communities in Quezon Province as part of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process. Another FPIC process scheduled for the Province of Rizal.