The alleged murder of two indigenous Dumagat during the March 7 “Bloody Sunday” incident should give authorities enough basis for the cancellation of the Kaliwa Dam project, which the tribesmen have opposed.
“We remember the deeds and sacrifices of Randy and Puroy Dela Cruz for the defense of the environment and their ancestral domain. Murder most foul should be grounds for the cancellation of the Kaliwa Dam where proponents clearly did not do their human rights due diligence,” Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE), said in a statement Sunday, March 14.
Cousins Randy and Puroy Dela Cruz were among the nine activists killed in what Kalikasan PNE described as “a region-wide crackdown against dissenters in the Southern Tagalog region.” They were active members of Dumagat Sierra Madre, a group advocating for the rights of indigenous people (IP) in Luzon’s longest mountain range.
“Randy and Puroy did not deserve the price they paid for protecting the rights of their fellow Dumagat. The Dela Cruz cousins only wanted to protect the ancestral domains and their community from the imminent collapse of the watershed from the vested interests that have been pursuing the project,” Dulce noted.
The Kaliwa Dam project has been long opposed by multi-sectoral alliances due to the displacement of the IPs who live and depend on the Kaliwa watershed.
Accordign to Kalikasan PNE, the controversial project will displace around 150,000 members of the Dumagat tribe from their villages and degrade the entire watershed.
“The Dumagat have been vocal about their opposition to the Kaliwa Dam Project,” Dulce said.