Lumads urged to reclaim stewardship to nature; envi groups slam Hedcor-DCWD deal
PRESS RELEASE | March 25, 2010| In the light of the Earth Hour | Davao City --- Indigenous sectoral group KATRIBU Partylist together with PANALIPDAN Southern Mindanao held a symbolic protest action as part of its commemoration of the Earth Hour (March 27) and the World Water Day (March 22) at the Ponciano Rotonda fronting Post Office today.
KATRIBU also used the occasion to voice out concerns about the joint exploitation of the Tamugan – Panigan Watershed by HEDCOR – Aboitiz and the Davao City Water District.
The groups urged all concerned sectors, especially lumad tribes and communities to uphold man's stewardship of Mother Earth amidst the heightening adverse impacts of climate change which resulted to the current El Nino phenomenon and the previous tragedies.
“The Lumads must reclaim its role as guardians and stakeholders of Mother Earth. We must protect the remaining frontiers and resources for our heritage to last, and for the next generation. It is our mandate and our right although these may prove difficult, because we face corporate entities backed by well-oiled institutions and authorities to quell our defiance, ,” said Diolito Diarog, KATRIBU Coordinator, descendant of the Diarog clan, from Guiangan tribe who have lived within the Mt. Apo.
Diarog said the change in climate wrought by the massive destruction and plunder of our resources has for one, resulted to the severe resource crisis that we are experiencing.
Locally, the water and energy crisis that we have in Mindanao is the result of a cycle resulting from the destruction of our major river systems caused by the siltation, pollution and drilling of our rivers due primarily to dam construction, and mining,” said Diarog.
Call to save Tamugan despite crisis
“We have long been opposing the exploitation of these vital watersheds by these two agencies. HEDCOR's hydropower plant project is downright destructive and will cause irreversible damages to our ground water recharge zones while DCWD's surface water development will inevitably lead to the privatization of Davao's water utility,” said Diarog.
KATRIBU asserts that despite the “overly sensationalized” energy crisis, the Davao City Watershed Code which protects the watershed from any 'developmental' activity and destructive project must be strictly observed.
“With Mindanao under state of calamity, HEDCOR – DCWD has more grounds now to have the watershed code reversed. But we urge the people of Davao, lumads, farmers, fellow recipients of nature's gift, to protect our rivers and watersheds,” said Diarog.
The lumad group maintains a guarded viewpoint as to the veracity of the energy crisis especially since the brains behind the declaration are “notorious for politically corrupt and undemocratic policies” in the armed and intelligence forces of the administration.
The groups demanded instead for a long term solution to the El Nino phenomenon as well as to the energy and water crisis such as focusing on reversing the impacts of climate change through sustainable agriculture and banning commercial logging, large scale mining and other environmentally destructive projects. #
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