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LRC Statement: Earth Day 2018

Chico River

On the occasion of Earth Day on April 22, which likewise coincides with the 38th anniversary of the killing of Kalinga leader Macliing Dulag, the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center , the local chapter of Friends of the Earth International, calls on the Duterte government to reject, instead of reviving environmentally destructive projects of the Marcos dictatorship.

Duterte recently secured a P3.135B loan from China to finance the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, which is opposed by the indigenous peoples in Kalinga. We must remember that 38 years ago, Macling Dulag was killed for leading a movement that resisted the Chico River Dam Project of Ferdinand Marcos, then supported by the World Bank.

LRC executive director Norly Grace Mercado said, “History seems to be repeating itself. The Build-Build-Build program of the Duterte government which is behind the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, will cancel out the victory of the Kalinga and Bontoc peoples against the Chico River Dam Project. We stand by the indigenous communities of Kalinga who are continuing Macling’s legacy of defending ancestral domains against destructive government mega projects.”

“President Duterte has been vocal about idolizing the past dictator but it is ridiculous that he is attempting to resuscitate environmentally destructive Marcos-era projects that the communities have already rejected.”

Aside from the China-backed Chico River project, the Duterte government has partnered with Russia’s State Nuclear Corporation, Rosatom, to look at the rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant or the development of a new nuclear power plant project, Mercado said.

“Instead of bringing rejected projects of the ousted dictator back to life, President Duterte should seek environmental justice and rehabilitation for Marcos’ as well as other past Presidents’ legacy of environmental disasters that include excesses from the hyper-commercialization of Boracay; the Marcopper toxic mine spills in Marinduque; air and dirty energy pollution from coal-fired power plants; massive deforestation and loss of biodiversity from Timber Licensing Agreements given to favored cronies of the dictator; and chemical pollution due to the failed Green Revolution program,” Mercado said.

Photo by Jayzl Nebre-Villafania.

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