Church, other groups join campaign vs Ahunan Dam

By Elmer Valenzuela

The Diocese of San Pablo declared its support to a campaign opposing the construction of hydropower plant in the old and historic town of Pakil located at the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range in Laguna.

Pakil’s Dambana ng Mahal na Birhen ng Turumba Facebook page announced earlier this week that San Pablo Bishop Buenaventura Famadico has joined the popular opposition to the proposed Ahuhan Dam Project.

“The Diocese of San Pablo supports the opposition by the citizens who love Pakil of the Ahuman Storage Hydroelectic Power Project,” the announcement reads in Filipino.

The Diocese also echoed the fears of residents against possible impacts on the local environment as well as on the people’s livelihood and way of life.

Bishop Famadico stressed the people’s right to a balanced and sound ecology and the people’s moral duty to uphold and advance this right in behalf of the voiceless and future generations.

The prelate said it is God’s call to safeguard and prevent the destruction of His creation.

The $1.1 billion Ahunan hydropower plant project is proposed to be constructed atop Pakil and along the Sierra Madre Mountain.

Project proponent Ahunan Power, Inc., is co-owned by billionaire Enrique K. Razon.

Ahunan however is facing stiff resistance from Pakil residents who cite negative social, cultural and ecological impacts posed by the project.

Pakilenos led by the local group Mamamayang Nagmamahal sa Pakil (MANAPAK) has earlier compelled the Pakil municipal council to revoke its no objection certification to the project, citing irregularities in the public consultation proceedings.

Aside from winning the Roman Catholic Church’s support, dam oppositionists also won over more groups to its campaign.

The newly-formed Network Opposed To Ahunan Dam (NO To Ahunan Dam), composed of at least 40 organizations and individuals that include environmentalists, church workers, student councils and other concerned citizens, signed a manifesto opposing the dam’s construction.

“The Ahunan Dam will only cause widespread environmental destruction, not just in Pakil but across both the Sierra Madre mountain range and Laguna Lake,” NO to Ahunan Dam spokesperson Joe Tlibas said.

 “Worse, this destruction will come because the rich want to get richer,” Tlibas added.

The manifesto was released last September 26 in time for the celebration of the 10th Save Sierra Madre Day. #