Naneng tribe oppose Upper Tabuk Hydropower Dam

Northern Dispatch

TABUK, Kalinga – The unconsulted tribal leaders and members of the Naneng Ancestral Domain comprising the villages of Lucong, Bagumbayan, and Dupag petitioned the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to cancel a water rights permit and a compliance certificate process obtaining free prior and informed consent (FPIC) issued to the Minanga sub tribe of Barangay Dupag.

Nearly 150 petitioners claimed they were not consulted as per provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) endowing the rights and process of FPIC of the affected community to the proposed building of the Upper Tabuk Hydro power Electric Dam or Dupag Dam project. Said compliance certificate to the FPIC process was issued May 14, 2009 by NCIP Officer in Charge and Commissioner for southern and eastern Mindanao Felecito Masagnay, following a resolution issued by the NCIP en banc May 12, 2009.

Petitioners in their April 25 resolution also asked Secretary Ramon Paje of the DENR to cancel the water rights permit issued in favor of the project proponent Kalinga Hydropower Incorporated. In the same resolution, the petitioners asked Secretary Jose Almendras to cancel the hydro power service contract given to the Kalinga Hydro Power Inc or the Minanga sub tribe.

Petitioners claimed that the indigenous cultural communities of Naneng and Minanga are homogenous societies and as such the Minanga sub tribe is not a distinct sub tribe, being part of the Naneng ancestral domain.

The proposed Upper Tabuk Hydro Power Electric Dam or Dupag dam project along the Tanudan river reaches 35.4 meters in height to collect a million cubic meters of water at the back of the dam and release waters at a frequency of 40 to 60 meters per second. Two turbines are designed to let the flowing waters produce a 10 to 17 megawatt hydroelectric current.

The International Commission on Large Dams and the World Commission on Dams classify a large dam as that which restricts the natural flow of water in a river and where the height of the dam reaches 15 meters and above.

“The building of the dam would lead to flooding and siltation, thus damaging the farming systems upstream and downstream,” tribal leader Faustino Gupaal said.

From experience, siltation is a common occurrence in large dams such as in Agno river in Ambuklao Benguet, which showed a cementing of sediments including gravel, soil, and other materials collecting at the backside of the dam and downstream. Siltation results in the increase of the river’s width, eating up soil at the edges of the river.

Some 156 families were displaced when the Ambuklao Dam along the Agno river was built in 1956.

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