Peasants Re-occupy Land Near Controversial Dam
of their income and land first by a quarry site and subsequently by the
construction of the San Roque Multipurpose Dam, the impoverished peasants
started reclaiming the land they used to till.
Lyn V. Ramo
Posted by Bulatlat
MANUEL, Pangasinan - More than 25 families started clearing the 56-hectare
estate near the San Roque Multipurpose Dam (SRMD) in Sitio Cadanglaan in
Brgy. Narra in San Manuel, Pangasinan last September.
are poor peasants who re-occupied the idle land which used to be their
farm before a government flagship project took it away from them in the
are former tenants of a certain Luis Calpatora, whose heirs say that they
failed to reach an agreement with the National Power Corporation (NPC)
regarding the amount to be paid for the land.
The NPC reportedly offered P100 per sq. m. which the Calpatora
heirs refused. The settlement, the peasants say, is now left for the courts
was only the tenants’ improvements which got government compensation
when the construction started in 1997.
of the returning peasants were resettled at the Camangaan Resettlement
Site in Brgy. San Roque. Others
opted for self-relocation and settled in Sitio Cavite in Brgy. Narra.
peasants whose fields were devastated by raging floodwaters from the
dam’s floodgates decided to shift to planting squash and upo
(gourd) which they said could yield an alternative income for their
the first week of September, upon the advice of the estate administrator
the peasants started clearing the land and planting seeds that some
seedlings have started to geminate at some portions at the time of the
Northern Dispatch (Nordis) visit.
indicating that the piece of land is private property have been planted
along the property boundaries. This
invited the attention of the dam security forces who visited the peasants
on September 17 questioning the “No Trespassing” sign.
One of the peasants, however, challenged the security guard’s
instance and asked him to leave them alone, instead.
Aquijo recalled that it was poor peasants from Sitio Cavite who developed
Cadanglaan in the early 1990s when super typhoon Trining brought floods to
their community. They
evacuated to a higher place near the bank of the Agno River which they
call Ano, Aquijo told this reporter.
it took the families several months before they were able to return to
Sitio Cavite, the makeshift houses they built during the typhoon became
semi-permanent farm houses. People
started clearing the place of the bushes they call dangla, thus the
name Cadanglaan was coined.
of the fields used to be planted with rice and other crops such as
vegetables. Before the dam construction, people trooped to the riverbanks
in Sitio Cadanglaan to pan for gold dusts.
The movement of machineries, heavy equipment and quarry materials
deprived residents from gold-panning activities.
2001, Cadanglaan was a sea of gravel and river stones.
It was too noisy and hot because of the sound of machines and heavy
equipment which competed with the sound of a conveyor belt and that of the
crushing plant. Residents
were barred from entering the area to prevent being caught by the
was transformed into a quarry site complete with a conveyor belt for
quarrying activities. When
the dam was completed and the conveyor belt, crushers and other edifices
had to be dismantled, the area served as a dumping site for industrial
wastes such as scrap iron and wood, rubber and others that had to be
buried deep into the earth.
a time, Cadanglaan was teeming with scavengers among the San Manuel
peasants who resorted to getting scrap materials from the dumping sites to
eke out a living, until SRPC and NPC officials prohibited it last year.
The elements exposed and reburied the garbage in areas the peasants
could not locate.
area is now vegetated with weeds, most of which are like the touch-me-nots
the locals call mimosa. There
were no more dangla, an aromatic herb used by locals as an
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