“We launched our relief drive operation dubbed as Oplan Sagip Kanayunan-Gitnang Luson to mitigate the flood-affected farmers, indigenous peoples and fisher folks in the region. We need food, medicines, clothing, mat, water and other basic needs” stated by Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairperson.
“We’ve been receiving information through text messages from our provincial chapters that the flooding have caused damages to farmers’ houses and crops that would absolutely them put them into deep poverty, hunger and indebtedness”
“It is very hurtful that the farmers would suffer a lot as this calamity strikes in the region and still, these farmers were also victims of systematic land grabbing and displacement”, added by Canlas.
“Thus, we call on our supporters from church people, government employees, students and other sectors in Central Luzon, National Capital Region (NCR) and our friends in other countries to help us alleviate the situation of the farmers in the region”, Canlas said.
Amgl said that based on the government data, more than 800,000 of the 1.2 M affected people in the region were affected by this calamity and mostly were farmers, indigenous peoples and fisher folks in the region.
“According to our initial data, in Zambales alone, there were 2, 627 families belonging to farmers, indigenous peoples and fisher folks were mostly hit by this calamity. Particularly in Sta. Cruz town, six barangays such as Brgy. Sabang, Brgy. Guisguis, Brgy. Pagatpat, Brgy. Babuyan, Brgy. Canaynayan and Brgy. Lomboy have experienced heavy flooding due to six mining companies operating in the area. At present, there are 1,150 families who are in need of help, others have vacated to the nearest evacuation centers and more than 50 families of Brgy. Babuyan were stranded and in need of small boat to leave the said area” ,Canlas added.
“We believe that the flooding in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac were worsened by the releases of water from big dams in the region. Particularly in Angat river, the Bustos dam released water that came from Angat dam. The NDRRMC report dated August 7, 7am stated that it released 202.4 cubic meters per second (cms), which simply means flooding 1,748 hectares 1 meter deep or 349 hectares 5 meter deep somewhere in Bulacan or Pampanga, the catch basin of Angat river,” Canlas said.
“The private operation of dams, particularly its hydro-electric power generation is the root cause of worsened fllooding as it maximizes the sudden increase in water level to generate power. The higher the water volume, the bigger the potential energy of the water and the more power the turbines and generator. When dams wait for higher spilling level, it causes flash when they release it, multiplying the destructive effects of continuous rainfall,” he explained.
The group said that unless dams are totally nationalized, flooding in the region would continue to worsen and destroy the livelihood and property of the people.
“Dams should be operated harmoniously with the welfare of the people and not prioritize profit. Everybody knows that private power firms manage dams for maximum profitability such as waiting for the highest spilling level before releasing water. If nationalized, it would prioritize the welfare of the people, thus, releasing water cautiously by avoiding flash flood. The people should also be consulted about the dam's destructive effects. Irrigation would also be free from monopoly control and should served the farmers for a low fee if not free of charge,” Canlas said.
Thus, Amgl demanded the Aquino government to re-orient the operations of dams and hydroelectric plants in the region.
“Aquino should quit blaming mother nature and start using common sense. Though there is continuous rainfall, it is worsened by the flash flood coming from the dams. He should abandon his political considerations to the rich and influential families that monopolize the power industry and start caring about the people,” Canlas said. #