Don’t Flood Indigenous Villages to Build Massive Dams

Target: Roy A. Cimatu, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Goal: Stop building two dams and prevent environmental and human rights violations.

Two Chinese-backed dams are in the process of being built in the Philippines, both of which will displace indigenous communities, incur negative environmental effects, and push the country into deeper debt. The New Centennial Water Source Project, 130 miles away from the country’s capital, is supposed to meet increasing water demands and alleviate pressure on the old dam in place. However, it will displace 14,000 indigenous families, taking away ancestral lands which they depend on for life and livelihood. The other project, the Balog Balog Multipurpose Project, 80 miles away from the capital, will negatively affect 29 villages, displacing 1,650 families, most of whom are indigenous. China is offering billions in loans to complete these projects and other future projects, a classic move that the country uses to trap developing countries in debt.

While the government claims that only 15% of the dams will be built with foreign investment, it is no secret that the president has secured billions in loans in exchange for territories and resources in the South China Sea. A member of an indigenous network in the Philippines claims that funding should not come from Chinese investment; these dams and other energy projects would be better off being managed by local communities, protecting indigenous people’s rights and lands. These developments stem from the president’s promise of reducing national poverty and helping over six million Filipinos.

While the president has promised economic wealth through new airports, railway lines, roads for better irrigation and flood control, he is yet to address environmental and human rights. This is especially true for indigenous communities who will suffer most from these developments. In addition, these dams will exacerbate flood risk and endanger local communities who live nearby. Urge the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop this project immediately.


Dear Mr. Cimatu,

In recent news, the Philippines is building two Chinese-funded dams in Quezon and Tarlac. These dams will have negative environmental and social consequences, which include exacerbated flood risks and violation of indigenous rights, respectively. In addition, the projects will only put the country into deeper debt, as China is known for hydro-diplomacy that traps developing countries in loans for building infrastructure.

The two dams will displace 15,650 indigenous families and strip them of their ancestral lands, which they depend on for livelihood. The dams will also endanger local communities. Indigenous network members have spoken out against these developments, claiming that the current and future projects should be managed by the community to protect indigenous rights and bolster economic activity in these areas. We do not need Chinese investment; President Duterte should focus on building his promised airports, railway lines, and roads with all Filipinos in mind–indigenous and others alike. He should not be giving away natural resources and territories in exchange for loans that will only push the country into deeper poverty, not wealth.

I hope that you speak out against these projects and stop them immediately. Community-centered projects and environmentally-friendly endeavors should be at the heart of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, not only economic interests.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Nikbert16

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  1. Gen Agustsson says:

    no more floods! just stop it!

  2. China again !!!!

  3. Flooding the natural environment and the homes of indigenous people, simply put, isn’t good.

  4. The Chinese don’t care, and why would the Philippine government? Historically, both governments showed how dispensable people are – unless they have lots of money.

    May God take revenge on them for destroying His earthly paradise!

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