TABUK, Kalinga -- The struggle of Kalinga pangat, Macliing Dulag continues as opposition for hydroelectric dam project at the Chico River gains ground.
Elder Benigno Duyan is at the forefront of opposition against a 52-megawatt hydroelectric dam project which will affect five villages and three sub-tribes if it is approved.
“Bakit natin ibabangon ng nilibing na nating problema? Namatay na si Macliing Dulag dito para sa dam (Why are we digging up the problem we buried? Macliing Dulag already died for the dam),” he said.
Duyan recalled the struggle of the women of Dupag who fought alongside the males and said the heroism of the slain Dulag will not be forgotten.
The project is being spearheaded by contractor Oscar Violago of the San Lorenzo Builders and Developers Group (Karayan Incorporated) and is now in the process of asking for consent from villages facilitated by the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP).
Duyan said there is a fear of a conditioning being done by proponents of the company as well as a bias by the NCIP in itself.
Talks within Tabuk are growing, that the company is offering scholarships for children of residents and vehicles for village officials if the project commences but Duyan said the effects of a dam at the river is caused by soil erosion and damage to the sacred burial grounds as well as encroachment to ancestral land.
He said villages of Naneng, Bagumbayan, Dupag, Lucog and Amlao will be affected with subtribes of Naneng, Tallak and Minanga who live along the expanse of the great Chico River.
Duyan said there have now been at least three consultation meetings with villages by the company with those for the project convincing locals on its merits.
He has led a meeting over the weekend on effects of the hydro project with locals and village chiefs are also present in a bid to mount a bigger opposition.
Macliing Dulag died fighting against the construction of the Chico Dam in Kalinga on April 24, 1980 when soldiers belonging to the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division under Lieutenant Leodegario Adalem fired at two houses in their village in Bugnay, Kalinga.
The attack was meant to kill two prominent leaders of the Kalinga and Bontoc people who opposed to the World Bank-funded Chico River Basin Hydroelectric Dam Project Macliing and Pedro Dungoc.
Only Macliing Dulag perished in the attack while Pedro Dungoc survived.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on April 22, 2017.
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