NCIP caves in to demands of Dumagat-Remontado on Kaliwa Dam after weeklong camp
08 March 2019
Contact: Mel Alamo-0906 013 0491
On March 4, leaders of the Dumagat-Remontado tribe began to camp outside the Region IV office of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to demand the postponement of the initial community consultations for securing the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous tribes to be displaced by the construction of the Kaliwa Dam—the first of several dams that are part of the New Centennial Water System (NCWS) project.
Tribal elders or the kaksaan asserted that documents regarding the NCWS have yet to be submitted to them and translated in the local language. The leaders of the indigenous tribes said the documents are necessary so they can be better informed of the potential negative impact of the Kaliwa Dam on their ancestral domain.
Further, the Dumagat-Remontado leaders stated the Indigenous Political Structure (IPS) has yet to be established and recognized. This system should provide the framework for decision-making in accordance to customary laws and traditions.
With these demands NCIP Region IV Director Roberto Almonte postponed the initial community consultations. Although Director Almonte refused to sign any agreement with the leaders of the indigenous tribes, his verbal pronouncement was noted and recorded in the minutes of the meeting conducted to address the demands of the tribal leaders.
Local leaders claimed this as a small but significant victory resulting from their direct action. The Dumagat-Remontado leaders further call on civil society organizations to support them in their continued struggle, especially now that there has been increased activity near the intended construction site of the Kaliwa Dam.
The struggle continues as indigenous leaders and their support groups continue organizing to secure their rights as indigenous peoples.