The Philippines: dam megaproject resisted

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The Ibaloi indigenous people, that inhabit the area to be affected by the San Roque dam project in The Philippines, have started -with the support of Friends of the Earth-Japan, International Rivers Network and the Cordillera People's Alliance- a campaign to stop this destructive project, since the works would destroy the indigenous peoples community and livelihoods and additionally negatively affect the life of more than 20,000 people. An independent review of the project's environmental impact assessment, coordinated by the above named organizations, found that there were serious deficiencies in the quality of the studies and that many important environmental questions were not addressed. In addition, a recent fact-finding mission to the existing resettlement sites concluded that the resettlement is poor and people were dissatisfied since in the resettlement areas there is no source of long-term livelihood or income.

More than 44 social and environmental organizations worldwide -among which the WRM- addressed a sign-on letter to the authorities of the Export-Import bank of Japan (JEXIM) which intended to give financial support to the project, asking them not to approve such loan. Unfortunately on September 22 JEXIM approved the loan.

However, the organizers of the protest consider that the campaign was able to put the issue firmly on the public agenda in Japan, which means that the authorities and public opinion have the possibility to monitor the evolution of the questioned project.

Source: Aviva Imhof, 16/9/99 and 22/9/99,