Jalaur River for the People Movement
Statement on the Celebration of Earth Day
The Jalaur River for the People Movement (JRPM) joins the International community in celebrating this year’s Earth Day. We are affirming our commitment to protect and defend ourselves and Mother Earth from the severe aggression and devastation brought about by greed of big business corporations and governments such as the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Phase II (JRMP) to be constructed in Calinog, Iloilo, Philippines.
The Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project is a P11.2 B Philippine government mega dam facility project financed by the South Korean government through the Korea EXIM Bank’s Economic Development Corporation Bank. According to the Philippine Government, the project aims to develop and enhance year-round irrigation systems for 32,000 ha of agricultural land, generate hydro- electric power and supply water to households and commercials consumers in Iloilo City.
However, we in the Jalaur River for the People Movement together with our Korean solidarity partners and other international networks strongly resist this monstrous project of the Philippine and the Korean governments. The project is not and will never be for the development of the people of Iloilo. The waters from the Jalaur River will become an expensive commodity owned by the big business corporations depriving the people of its ownership. The poor farmers who used to benefits freely from the Jalaur River will suffer the brunt of water commercialization.
Worst, the proposed Jalaur Dam signals grave threats to the lives of the people of Iloilo. The proposed mega-dam is sitting little more than 11 kilometers away from the West Panay fault line which caused one of the most destructive earthquakes in the island of Panay in 1948. This quake damaged 55 churches, 17 of which have totally collapsed and 20 beyond repair.
Based on the records of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), another intensity 9 earthquake hit the island of Panay in 1620 that changed the course of Aklan River and damaged stone churches and facades in Passi City.
Another earthquake with magnitude 7.1, also hit the island in June 14, 1990 at a depth of 15km with 7 persons perished and 31 others injured.
Meanwhile, a Mines and Geosciences Bureau Rapid Geohazard Assessment of Barangay Agcalaga in Calinog also reveals that the area where the mega dam is to be constructed is highly susceptible to landslides.
The indigenous peoples who owned the lands are starting to be displaced and harrassed by government’s agencies; the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the local governments of the Province of Iloilo. Some leaders opposing the dam project are facing death threats and tramp up cases of rebellion.
We need to defend and protect our waters, our environment where our lives anchored on it. Thus, we are calling for the immediate review of the Korean government of their support to this project. This environmentally disastrous and monstrous project must be stop!