The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has joined widening calls to stop the construction of Kaliwa Dam in Quezon which will be funded by loans from China.
“The Church is not against development as long as it does not sacrifice the ‘common good’ in the name of progress,” said Bishop Romulo Valles of Davao. “©”©
“The ongoing Kaliwa Dam project of the government, in the guise of providing water to Metro Manila, is to our mind against inclusive development,” added Valles. “©”©
He stressed that bishops were against the project as it would destroy the biodiversity at Sierra Madre Mountains, which is the home of the Dumagat-Remontados tribe.
According to CBCP, it is better to look for an appropriate solution to the worsening water shortage in Meyro Manika based on experts’ suggestions.
“We, therefore, call on the government agencies concerned and other proponents of the Kaliwa Dam project to stop its implementation,” the bishops’ statement said.
“©“For the sake of the common good, we strongly recommend that ecologically sustainable alternatives be carefully considered,” the CBCP added.
Earlier, Antipolo Bishop Francisco de Leon warned of the dangers posed by the dam to indigenous communities of the Dumagay-Remontados tribe in the mountains of Sierra Madre.
He said that 300 forest hectares in the Sierra Madre might be submerged in water, endangering 126 wildlife in the area.
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System claims that Kaliwa Dam will provide an additional 34 million liters of water daily to Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Despite this, the project drew criticism from different environmental groups. In 2018, no less than 51 Catholic bishops and four priests expressed support to a pastoral letter titled “No to Kaliwa Dam, Yes to Alternative Sources of Water” and signed by the bishops of Infanta, Quezon.
Aside from destroying the government, critics warned that the China-funded project will only bury the Philippines in debt.