Public hearings on Kaliwa Dam set for August

MANILA, Philippines – Public hearings on the planned Kaliwa Dam are set for August in the provinces of Quezon and Rizal.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced the schedule in a notice posted on its website.

There will be 3 public hearings, with registration starting at 8 am on all days:

The EMB said the purpose of the public hearings is to review the environmental impact of the Kaliwa Dam project.

The Kaliwa Dam would be built in the municipalities of General Nakar and Infanta in Quezon and in the municipality of Teresa in Rizal. It is seen as a possible solution to the Metro Manila water crisis.

It would cost P12.2 billion to build, with 85% set to be funded by China through official development assistance. The remaining amount will be shouldered by the Philippine government through the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Kaliwa Dam: Is China's involvement cause for concern?)

Should the construction push through this year, the dam is expected to be done by 2023.

Pro-environment and indigenous peoples' groups, however, oppose the project.

Fr Pete Montallana, chairperson of the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance, earlier presented 100,000 signatures against the Kaliwa Dam. His group called on the DENR not to issue an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the project.

"As part of the social acceptability requirement for the issuance of an ECC to the project, we bring to the department the petition to stop the Kaliwa Dam project signed by local residents of Infanta, Real, and General Nakar in Quezon along with Filipinos from other parts of the country," the group said.

The advocates argue that building the dam would lead to environmental degradation and the loss of sites vital to indigenous cultures. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Is the Kaliwa Dam actually viable?– with a report from Mavic Conde/Rappler.com