The Environment department has cleared the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to proceed with the construction of the P18.7-billion Kaliwa Dam project.
The department gave its order through the Environment Management Bureau.
On Oct. 11, EMB director Metodio Turbella gave the new water source project the clearance to build and operate a gravity dam along Kaliwa River in Quezon and Rizal.
“With the issuance of this ECC [environmental clearance certificate], you are expected to implement the measures presented in the environmental impact statements intended to protect and mitigate the project’s adverse impacts on community health, welfare and the environment, a provision in the ECC says.
“However, you may proceed with the project implementation only after securing the necessary permits from other pertinent government agencies. Environmental considerations shall be incorporated in all phases and aspects of the project.”
The project proponents earlier submitted an environmental impact statement.
The ECC is a requisite allowing the project to push through to the next stage of project planning, including securing approval from other concerned government agencies.
But the EMB warned the project proponents—the MWSS and its contractor China Energy Engineering Corp.― to ensure full compliance with the law.
“Non-compliance with any of the provisions of this certificate shall be sufficient cause for its cancellation and/or imposition of a fine in an amount not to exceed P50,000 for every violation thereof,” the ECC says.
The ECC said the MWSS must “ensure that the sacred sites and burial grounds, as well as the culture and livelihood of the indigenous peoples are preserved and protected,” and that it must adopt mitigating measures to protect and preserve Tinipak Spring and Tinipak White Rocks.
The two areas are considered sacred to the IP communities.
Apart from these provisions, the ECC said the MWSS and CEEC must strictly implement an information and communication program to educate all stakeholders as to how to mitigate the environmental impact to be brought about by the Kaliwa Dam construction.
Moreover, MWSS must submit memorandums of agreement with concerned local government units for social development programs and the protection of the cultural heritage of the Dumagat tribes, and that an integrated watershed management plan must be developed to “ensure the structural soundness/stability of the dam through the compliance with internationally accepted structural dam design standards.”
The government said the Kaliwa Dam project would address the increasing demand for water in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces.
The proposed dam could add 600 million liters per day.