Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Green Convergence Opposes US$1-B Laiban Dam as Source of Power Water

Even as the issue of conflict of interests by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has yet to surface and be resolved by being in a number of businesses in the energy sector, the conglomerate giant has been lately at the receiving end of the growing opposition against the US$1 billion Laiban Dam project as the Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy (Green Convergence) demanded an explanation from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) as to the details surrounding the hasty award of the project to the company by default.

A coalition of more than 40 organizations nationwide, Green Convergence said MWSS ignored widespread objections of various stakeholders, particularly several groups of indigenous people who will be displaced by the project.

“We question the process by which the bids are made. We demand more discussions and a thorough review should be undertaken before such a project of significant impact will take place,” Dr. Angelina P. Galang, coordinator of the Green Convergence, told MWSS Administrator Diosdado Jose M. Allado in a letter by the group to the agency last week.

Dr. Galang cited arguments and costs against the project as environmental destruction; social, economic and cultural dislocations; hazards because the proposed dam will be constructed in an active geologic fault, including studies by international bodies as the World Commission on Dams and the International Rivers Network who indicated that costs far outweigh the benefits of large dams.

She stressed that these costs should be reflected in the required, updated Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Compliance Certificate of the project prior to its approval and award to any bidder.

“Since MWSS is supposed to uphold public interest and in the spirit of good governance and transparency, we ask most urgently that all issues surrounding the Laiban Dam project be made public and that the various interests and rights of stakeholders, especially the indigenous peoples of Tanay and Quezon should be heard and protected without delay,” she pointed out.

Dr. Angelina P. Galang
(Mobile Number: 0917 8538841
Email address: GreenConvergence@gmail.com or ninagalang@ymail.com
c/o: Environmental Studies Institute (ESI), Miriam College, Quezon City

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