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148 kilometers is a walking distance if you are protecting your mountain

Updated on November 11, 2009

148-kilometer walking distance

 From the Sierra Madre Mountain            to Manila Photo Source: Marj Ibanez(PAKISAMA)  Facebook Page
From the Sierra Madre Mountain to Manila Photo Source: Marj Ibanez(PAKISAMA) Facebook Page

History if full of long walks

Quezon Province, Philippines is home to the Sierra Madre mountain range. It protects the surrounding provinces from floods and other natural disasters aside from all the other benefits a mountain gives.

In December 2004, the deforestation and other ravages on the mountain showed themselves through the flash flood in the town of Infanta, Nakar and Real. That should have been the ultimate warning to us as a people - never ever again to forget our responsibility to the environment.

But no sooner has the flashflood dried up than the government lifted the ban on logging at the Sierra Madre mountain range.

There is another project that the government wants to carry out : The Laiban Dam.The Laiban Dam Project has always been rejected by the people of Quezon Province. It resurrected recently. The dam is a 50-billion peso project. It is going to be the biggest reservoir at 113 meters high and a strong opposition to it has been going on since the project was revived by the current administration. The protest against the project stems from the following reasons:

a. It violates the constitutional rights of the Indigenous peoples who will be directly hit and will be submerged by this gigantic project; affecting some 4,415 families;

b. It will disrupt biodiversity in the Sierra Madre Mountains since the dam will destroy forest area covering 103 hectares and an area spanning 2,479hectares, irreversibly destroying the natural habitat of 126 fauna species, 5 percent of which (or 67species) are endemic to the Philippines with 12 species endemic to the Luzon faunal region.

c. It will also dislocate endangered species like the Philippine hawk-eagle (Spizaetus Philippensis),the Philippine brown deer (Rusa Marianna),the Philippine Warty pig(Sus Philippensis)and the Luzon bearded wild pig.

d. The project is not environmentally-sound as it is vulnerable to earthquakes because of its being located in an earthquake fault.

e. The Joint Venture Agreement between the project proponents Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its partner, the San Miguel Bulk Waters Inc., is questioanable due to its “take of pay proviso” which means tax payers are paying for the project even before the intended water supply benefits the consumers and which will result in increased water utility rates.

Thus,the Agtas call to scrap the Laiban Dam project. The Agtas walked 148 kilometers to put across the call. 

As of this writing, the marchers are still in Manila and have yet to see a concrete commitment from the government about heeding the call to scrap the project.

The Agtas of Quezon Province, with their supporters, are firm in their stand to protect Sierra Madre. This mountain range is not just a heritage of the Philippines. It is, like the Amazon of Brazil and any other mountain in the world, a global heritage.

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    • franciaonline profile imageAUTHOR

      franciaonline 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      billips, the indigenous people's hard work goes on because most of the time, our government doesn't act with urgency.

    • billips profile image

      billips 

      8 years ago from Central Texas

      Great Hub - interesting and informative - we all have to do whatever we can to preserve nature - hope all the good work produces some positive result - B.

    • franciaonline profile imageAUTHOR

      franciaonline 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Cris,

      You always have good words for my hubs. Thanks for the solidarity statement!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Like I don't know how it is or going to be when you incur the wrath of nature. Keep on sounding the alarm - I know this phrase has been cliched but we all know why. Thanks for informing us on the plight of those whose lives are going to be affected by the dam project.

    • franciaonline profile imageAUTHOR

      franciaonline 

      9 years ago from Philippines

    • franciaonline profile imageAUTHOR

      franciaonline 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Jill,

      The Agtas are still in Manila because the objectives of their march have not been achieved. Our group is not a part of the planning committee but we are supportive of the

      Agta's advocacy. On November 10, we met them at the Santolan LRT Station and marched with them from there to Miriam College.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      How come I haven't heard about this walk? I will tell my friends about this. Indigenous people and wildlife are always affected by projects like this.

      Thank you very much for sharing Francia!

    • franciaonline profile imageAUTHOR

      franciaonline 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for leaving an encouraging comment, Paraglider!

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Good luck with your campaign to save this natural environment. The 'for-profit' bandits are to be resisted, as there is no limit to their greed and ruthlessness.

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