Duterte Sells Out Chico River To Foreign Investor

FAST FACTS:
* P3.135-billion (US $62.09 million) loan agreement for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project by the Philippine and Chinese governments without consent from affected communities.
* Total project cost of P4.3 billion.
* NIA signed the PhP 4.3 billion contract with China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd for the Chico River PIP last March 8, 2018.

CPA STATEMENT ON THE CHICO PUMP IRRIGATION PROJECT

April 13, 2018

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance denounces the signing of the P3.135-billion (US $62.09 million) loan agreement for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project by the Philippine and Chinese governments last Tuesday. It is the latest move of the Duterte regime in its sell-out of our natural resources and ancestral lands to foreign investors, without consent from affected communities.

The Chico River PIP is a flagship infrastructure project under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, with a total project cost of P4.3 billion. Top officials from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have earlier signed the PhP 4.3 billion contract with China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd for the Chico River PIP last March 8, 2018. The project seeks to create canals diverting the water from the Chico River into different areas in Tuao and Piat Cagayan and Pinukpuk in Kalinga. According to the Department of Finance, the interest rate on the US Dollar denominated loan is 2% per annum with a maturity period of 20 years including a seven-year grace period.

Under the guise of advancing socio-economic agenda, the hand of foreign investors in the implementation of this project will result in the privatization of agricultural services and will force us to succumb to unfair conditions set by these corporations in exchange to access to our very own resources. This is one of the regime’s means to fast-track the entry of foreign corporations to make profit from our deprivation while exploiting our natural resources.

The history of the Kaigorotan is marked by strong resistance to colonization and vehement opposition to destructive projects that encroach in and privatize ancestral lands and deny us of our rights to our very own resources. Our forefathers fought fearlessly against similar attempts in the past during the Marcos dictatorship, when the people of Kalinga and Mountain Province successfully opposed the US$ 50 million World Bank-funded Chico River Irrigation Project, also known as the Chico Dams Project, from 1976-1985.

The Chico River PIP and the series of hydropower projects along the Chico River and its tributaries will raise a spectre of the Chico Dam struggle, which is a testimony of the strength of the Cordillera peoples’ unity in opposing corporate and destructive projects that go against the interest of the people. What the peasants in Kalinga and the other Cordillera provinces have long been demanding from the government is free irrigation and appropriate irrigation systems that do not trample on our rights to our ancestral lands and that truly service the poor people. Kalinga communities affected by hydropower projects have already registered their opposition to these projects, including the Karayan Dams project.

Duterte is deaf to these calls and is instead focused in amassing all political power in the government to make it possible for him to carry-out plans based on his selfish interests and those he kowtows to. His disregard for peoples’ welfare is apparent in the way he manipulates all possible means to silence those opposed to his abuse of power through various forms of human rights violations and the continued militarization of communities.

More than ever, now is the time to heed the urgent call to rise against these unrelenting and intensified fascist attacks against the poor. Just as equally unrelenting, let us intensify our campaigns and struggle for our rights to our ancestral lands and self determination. We shall let the nation witness once again a successful defense of the Chico River to let the river flow free, and as the fire of our dissent engulfs a tyrant’s aspiration for absolute power. Never will we let it be recorded in history that a fascist ruler has crushed the peoples movement with tyranny.

From the Cordillera peoples’ defense of the Chico River in the 1970s-1980s emerged the annual peoples’ Cordillera Day celebration on April 24, the day Macliing Dulag was killed by the Philippine military in 1980. This year’s Cordillera Day celebration, which will be held at the Pacday Quino Elementary School in Barangay Asin Road on April 22-25, will tackle the different issues currently affecting Cordillera indigenous peoples, including the tyranny of the Duterte regime and the continued development aggression in our ancestral lands. #

Reference:
Bestang Dekdeken
Secretary General
Cordillera Peoples Alliance

 

Northern Dispatch
Sunday, April 15, 2018
By Rendilyn Cuyop

BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) called P3.135-billion (US $62.09 million) loan agreement for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (PIP) that President Rodrigo Duterte secured from the Chinese government last April 10 during his recent visit to China “the latest sell out” of the country’s resources and ancestral lands to foreign investors.

In a press statement, CPA Spokesperson Bestang Dekdeken said the Chico River PIP is part of the Duterte administration’s “build build build” program.

It can be recalled that last March the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have secured a P4.3B contract with China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd for the Chico River PIP. According to the Department of Finance, the interest rate on the US Dollar denominated loan is 2% per annum with a maturity period of 20 years including a seven-year grace period.

The project seeks to create canals diverting the water from the Chico River into different areas in Tuao and Piat Cagayan and Pinukpuk in Kalinga.

Dekdeken said allowing foreign investors in the implementation of projects like the Chico River PIP will result to the privatization of agricultural services. “This is one of the regime’s means to fast-track the entry of foreign corporations to make profit from our deprivation while exploiting our natural resources,” she said.

Dekdeken pointed out that the Bontoc and Kalinga peoples foiled the Chico River dams project with irrigation component of the late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She added that the PIP and the hydropower projects along the Chico River and its tributaries will be met with opposition because corporate and destructive projects go againsts the interest of the people.

She said that what the people of Kalinga and other farmers whose fields are being irrigated by the Chico River has been free and appropriate irrigation systems that do not take over ancestral lands and directly benefit the people.

“Duterte is deaf to these calls and is instead focused in amassing all political power in the government to make it possible for him to carry-out plans based on his selfish interests and those he kowtows to,” she said.

Dekdeken urged the people to intensify their fight for the respect and recognition of their rights to their ancestral land and to self-determination.

“We shall let the nation witness once again a successful defense of the Chico River to let the river flow free, and as the fire of our dissent engulfs a tyrant’s aspiration for absolute power. Never will we let it be recorded in history that a fascist ruler has crushed the peoples movement with tyranny,” she said.

The annual Cordillera Day celebration every April 24 to commemorate the death of Macliing Dulag who was killed by government forces in 1980 traces its roots to the Cordillera peoples’ defense of the Chico River. Dulag was a Kalinga elder who led his people against the Chico dams project.

This year’s Cordillera Day will be held at the Pacday Quino Elementary School in Barangay Asin Road on April 22-25, will tackle the different issues currently affecting Cordillera indigenous peoples, including the tyranny of the Duterte regime and the continued development aggression in our ancestral lands. # nordis.net

http://www.nordis.net/2018/04/duterte-sells-chico-river-to-china/

Cordillera Heroes Memorial In Kalinga

Cordillera Day | Macliing Dulag, Cordillera heroes memorial unveiled in Kalinga
By Marya Salamat
Bulatlat.com April 16, 2017

Tinglayan, KALINGA — At a curve in the mountain road in the village of Bugnay, hundreds braved the summer heat and hours-long bumpy ride to come together on April 23. They came from different provinces in the Cordillera, from other regions of the Philippines and even from other countries to take part in a ceremony of unveiling a special marker in honor of the heroism of Macliing Dulag and all who resisted the Chico Dam projects.

National minority elders and leaders of progressive organizations recognized that this struggle has come to mean more than just opposing the building of mega dams. To the people of the Cordillera, it has come to mean a struggle to defend their ancestral land, culture and right to self-determination. It has also come to mean a struggle against military dictatorship.

When the Marcos dictatorship conceptualized the building of four dams along the Chico River in the Mountain Province and Kalinga in the 70s, it aimed to generate energy for the export-oriented industries and mining. But the people of Kalinga and Bontoc opposed it because it will divert the flow of river, submerge many villages and destroy terraced rice fields feeding on its banks and in the end, seize the ancestral lands of the national minorities who mostly comprised the residents in the way of the planned dam.

Macliing Dulag was one of the elders and leaders of the Butbut tribe when he was killed by the Philippine Army in April 24, 1980. His killing was meant to scare away opponents of the dam project, but, instead, it fueled greater resistance and more organizations rose to oppose not only the dam project but similar projects that disregarded the lives and culture of the indigenous peoples. In 1984, these organizations formed the Cordillera People’s Alliance.

Since then they celebrated April 24 as Cordillera Day.

This year, the celebration started with the April 23 unveiling of the marker honoring Macliing Dulag and the heroes of the Cordillera people’s defense against what they call “development aggression.”

Thanking Macliing Dulag and the Cordillera Heroes

Gracing the edge now of a picturesque curve at the high mountain road in Bugnay are tall portraits of three heroes outlined in black steel. It ingeniously encompassed as backdrop the Cordillera and Chico River for which these heroes gave their lives. Visible through the steel outlines of the portraits are the emerald green mountains across the Chico River. Near the portraits, the part of Chico River flowing below is also visible behind its steelwork, and so is the Bugnay Village at the riverbank across the road where Macliing Dulag lived.

Flanking Dulag’s portrait were that of Pedro Dungoc Sr. and Lumbaya Gayudan. They all led in opposing the World Bank-funded Chico Dam projects since the 70s. They all hailed from Tinglayan, where the memorial was erected.

The memorial was built out of the people’s cooperation and contribution, a representative of the local government said. It was designed by solar artist Jordan Mang-osan and architect Vladimir Longid. It has been planned since 2002, but was stalled by a tribal war that has since been resolved. Now another threat is hanging over the Chico River; there is a renewed plan to dam it at various points, which reportedly had been approved by the Philippine government.

This year it has been more than 40 years since the anti-Chico Dam struggle.

“We are very grateful to these three because we’re able to defend our land despite Martial Law due to their example and sacrifice,” said Banag Sinumlag, one of the leaders of the resistance to the building of Chico Dam.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new marker, he apologized as he momentarily turned his back on the audience to face the three portraits, for a “heart to heart talk,” he said, to get the three’s guidance, blessings, and to pray that the people will continue to defend the ancestral lands.

He praised the life and heroism of the heroes of the Chico Dam struggle, how Macliing Dulag did not accept bribes such as money and power and resolutely went on with the call to stop the Chico Dam project and uphold their right to self-determination. A big aspect of that right is letting them pursue their agricultural practices, letting them continue with their lives in the Cordillera along the banks of Chico River.

He called on the rest of the Cordillera to avoid the deceptive claims of the CPLA (Cordillera People’s Liberation Army). The latter, along with the Philippine government, has been organizing their own version of Cordillera Day. It is “shameful historical revisionism” according to Windel Bolinget, national chairperson of the CPA.

Who do they think they are deceiving? How can they supposedly honor Macliing Dulag when it was their Philippine army troops who killed him? Bolinget asked during the unveiling of the Cordillera heroes marker.

The marker was built by the tribe members who worked on agreed shifts at the site to finish it in time for the “Cordillera people’s true Cordillera Day.”

“We are lucky to have the only memorial of this kind here,” said John Dulawen, municipal councilor from Pasil, Kalinga.

The memorial is a symbol of its important place in history, a symbol of the continuing struggle of the people of Cordillera, all the national minorities, said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate. It was his first time to attend the Cordillera Day, and he remembered some of the words Macliing Dulag uttered that inspired many: “How can you own the land that outlives you?”

With the memorial for Macliing Dulag and the heroes of Cordillera, and all national minorities for that matter, Zarate said, it is very fitting today to honor and remember them. “The people’s struggle continues. The struggle against dams, mining, imperialist control, and excesses of the bureaucrat capitalists are still ongoing. The Bayan Muna representative welcomed the memorial as the symbol of the people’s continuing struggle.

Descendants of Lumbaya Gayudan, Pedro Dungoc Sr and Macliing Dulag sit in front of the marker in Tinglayan, Kalinga (Photo courtesy of Audrey Beltran)
“We are very grateful to these three because we’re able to defend our land despite Martial Law due to their example and sacrifice.”

Macli-ing Dulag was assassinated by Marcos-controlled military forces on 24 April 1980.
Macli-ing Dulag was a victim of Marcos Martial Law. Not much has changed about military and police forces being used by politicians as their private army to suppress democratic rights of the people.