Infanta, Quezon – In celebration with the international day of the Earth, a hundred youth members of STEP-Sierra Madre (Southern Tagalog for Environmental Development and Protection of Sierra Madre) – a Southern Tagalog wide regional organization, holds it’s coastal clean-up drive in Dinahican, Infanta Port up to the Agos River area. Carrying with them are streamers and slogans calling for the stoppage of the supposed five big dam constructions in Rizal and Quezon namely: New Centennial Water Source Project – Kaliwa Dam, Laiban Dam, Sumag Diversion Project, Kanan Dam and Agos Dam.
“Water is life. With the collection of massive amount of water in Sierra Madre mountains, low lying communities like Infanta, Quezon is always at threat from floods. Our lives are always at peril and the disaster in 2004 during the onslaught of Typhoon Winnie may repeat itself,” says Christine Paladin – Chairperson of STEP-Sierra Madre.
STEP-Sierra Madre is dismayed that these big dams will be built to supply the demand for water of Metro Manila’s rich populace – those living in exclusive subdivisions like Forbes Parks and Dasmarinas Village to fill up their swimming pools and abusive usage of water as their way of life at the expense of the people of REINA. Furthermore, these dams are designed to satisfy the leisure of business oligarchs that are concentrated in eco-tourism ventures like hotels, casino, and amusement parks, among others.
“This is in lined with the Philippine Development Program of the Aquino Administration that further open the gates of our national patrimony to commodifying all our natural wealth at the interest of private and business sector while draining the normal flow of water used by local residents for drinking, irrigation and for fishing. Thus, depriving the peoples’ right of commons to water, land, air, mineral resources and our forest,” Sarah Jane Espiritu – STEP-Sierra Madre, Secretary General, added. .
“We call on President Aquino to rehabilitate the Sierra Madre Mountain Range that is now continuously degrading because of massive destructive human activities like mining, logging and forest conversion; rather than promoting yet another development aggression project like dam. Time is of the essence,” Paladin ended.
“Celebrating Earth day is futile if in the real essence, capital and business stake is much more government’s priority than genuinely do mechanisms to safeguard our nature”, says Espiritu.
The group pledges to launch spontaneous activities to highlight their disgusto to big dam projects and call on the people to be vigilant and join the campaign against it.