Bishop Valentin Dimoc, head of the bishops’ Commission on Indigenous Peoples, called on the Filipino faithful to protect indigenous people and the environment from threats of the Kaliwa Dam project that is being prioritized by the government.
The prelate made the call during the observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday on October 10.
He said the 12.2 billion-peso project that is being funded by China “threatens the integrity and the way of life” of the Dumagat-Remontado tribal people.
“So they need to be protected because their lives are being threatened by this kind of project,” said Dimoc, apostolic vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe.
The Commission on Audit has earlier flagged the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for implementing the project without proof compliance of environmental prerequisites and submission of necessary permits.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday concluded the Philippine Church’s observance this year of the Season of Creation, which started on September 1.
Bishop Dimoc said that the observance is also an invitation for the people to promote the protection and recognition of rights of indigenous peoples.
He said that when people respect the rights of indigenous peoples, they are also protecting the integrity of the environment.
“We protect the [indigenous peoples], we protect the integrity of the environment. We exert effort to protect nature, we also protect the [indigenous peoples],” the bishop added.
“This is what it means to celebrate the Season of Creation and conclude it with the Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday,” he said.