Biyernes, Setyembre 11, 2009

MMVA joins anti-Laiban Dam campaign

09 September 2009

FDC urges Arroyo: “Do a Cory, stop Laiban Dam.”

QUEZON CITY – As the nation marks the end to the period of mourning for former President Corzazon C. Aquino, members of the Save Sierra Madre Network (SSMN), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Antipolo Social Action Center, Sanlakas, Bukluran ng Manggagawa sa Pilipinas (BMP), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA), Partido ng Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc. (SSMESI) and water consume group PATTAK staged a protest action in front of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) office here, urging the administration of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal=Arroyo to “do Cory” by shelving the proposed construction of the controversial Laiban dam project.

Proposed during the dictatorship regime, the 113-meter high Laiban Dam project was shielved under the administration of Mrs. Aquino due to environmental and financial reasons and opposition from the affected communities. The proposal was revived under Mr. Joseph Estrada’s administration and later aggressively pushed by the MWSS under Mrs. Arroyo.

Swelling opposition to the project led San Miguel corp. President Ramon Ang to announce last September 2 that the company is putting the Laiban project on hold, a sensible move since they cannot do anything until the evaluation of their proposal being conducted by the MWSS is finalized.

For its part, the Freedom from Debt Coalition in a position paper urges the government through the MWSS to conclusively and finally abandon the Laiban Dam project, regardless of how it is proposed to be undertaken, whether as a joint venture project, a congressional loan, or as a state-funded project.

FDC believes that the proposal to proceed with the Laiban Dam project is borne out of a dangerous and flawed decision-making process that (1) was blinded by the dogged fanaticism to pursue large-scale trophy projects, (2) is based on shaky demand projections that encourage increased water consumption as opposed to water conservation, (3) and, neglect globally-accepted concerns and recommendations against large dam-projects.

The Laiban Dam project, if implemented, will not be beneficial to the people and grossly disadvantageous to the government, the group said. It will result in (1) large and direct injury to the local communities within and around the project area, (2) rate increases that are disproportionate to the perceived gains that general consumers will receive from the project, (3) the siphoning of budgetary allocations that are more gravely needed by other water sector concerns, (4) with the government guaranteeing the risks, it will further aggravate the government’s debt stock and indebtedness and its precarious fiscal position.

According to environment groups, the proposed Laiban Dam is located in Mt. Irid-and Mt. Angilo Important Biodiversity Area (IBA), an area declared as hot spot for conservation. Mount Irid and Mt. Angilo are located on the tri-boundaries among the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal and Quezon in the southern Sierra Madre mountains. As a mountain range, these mountains are two of the remaining densely forested areas in Sierra Madre.

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