In Baguio, Opposition to San Roque Dam Heightens

BAGUIO CITY? Resistance to the San Roque mega dam here had peaked about two decades ago. Today, after a massive flash flood submerged most of Pangasinan, there is a renewed drive to protest.

Lugging streamers, placards and relief goods, the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA, Mutual Cooperation for the Nation) and Bayan (new Patriotic Alliance) conducted relief operations in two disaster-stricken villages here while calling for the decommissioning of the dam which is being blamed for the massive flooding in Pangasinan.

Dubbed as “Journey for the Environment and Resistance to San Roque Dam,” the two-day relief operation cum protest action began in Pangasinan on Thursday and continued in Baguio on Friday. While building opposition to the multi-million peso dam, the activity also extended help in the form of relief goods to about 600 families affected by the typhoons in barangays Pinsao and Irisan here.

Different organizations including Kalikasan, Health Alliance for Democracy, scientist group AGHAM, the Promotion of Church Peoples Response, Cordillera Peoples Alliance and Tongtongan Ti Umili participated in the activity.

Bayan has urged to decommission the dam as Pangasinan’s government officials also started demanding to decomission San Roque, the largest dam in South East Asia.

Earlier, studies of non government organizations have revealed that the dam’s priority to generate power defeats its supposed flood-control objective. Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr. said “the dam is not necessary or indispensable. There are other power sources that do not entail the construction of such a huge dam. The government proponents appeared to have been more interested in taking advantage of foreign loans from Japan that were available at the time.”

Reyes added they are consulting with lawyers for the possibility of filing criminal charges against the dam administrators. (Wendy Atuban/Nordis)

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