MANILA — Bikers and indigenous people’s rights advocates staged a protest action dubbed as “Pedal for Rivers,” April 17.
Organized by youth group Takder, the activity aimed to drumbeat the Apayao folk’s resistance to several dam projects, including Gened 1 and Gened 2. Protesters cycled from Welcome Rotunda to Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
The Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corporation (PPRPC) plans to construct the Gened Dam 1 along the Apayao-Abulug river. According to the 2016 environmental impact assessment, the 60-meter tall Gened 1 dam would submerge 898 households in eight barangays of Kabugao and 42 homes in Pudtol town, displacing more than 4,600 individuals.
Bikers converge here at Welcome Rotunda for Pedal for Rivers, a solidarity action against Apayao dam projects.#LetOurRiversFlow#NoToApayaoDams#CordiDayInMetroManila2022 pic.twitter.com/2SaJohAcQ8
— Bulatlat (@bulatlat) April 16, 2022
According to the Philippine Task Force on Indigenous People’s Rights, the dam projects would also affect Apayao’s biodiversity. The areas covered by Gened 1 dam project are home to 105 plant species, and 51 bird species including the Philippine duck, and 11 species of amphibians and reptiles.
Gened 2, meanwhile, will directly affect three barangays in Kabugao and eight barangays in Calanasan.
During the short program at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Rei Paulin, national coordinator of Katribu, said the dam projects would displace thousands of indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and farmers.
Angelica Campo of Binnadang Amianan, meanwhile, criticized the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for “violating the Isnag tribe’s right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).”
The activity is part of the build-up actions for the 38th Cordillera Day on April 24. The Cordillera Day is the annual commemoration of the heroism of Macliing Dulag, a leader of the Butbut tribe in Kalinga who was shot dead for opposing the Chico dam project during the Marcos dictatorship.
Text and photos by Emily Vital