“Balog-balog dam is a financial blackhole and an environmental hazard to the people of Tarlac. We should learn from the experience of San Roque dam in Pangasinan where people in nearby towns have been victimized by the dangerous discharge of water during the rainy season,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL chair in a press statement.
AMGL said that the 113-meter high dam would wipe out Aeta communities at Bgy. Maamot as their lands are planned to be converted to reservoir for the 625 million cubic meters of water. The discharge of the dam would also affect about 30,000 people residing at San Jose riverside communities in barangays Sula, Iba, Villa Aglipay, Pao, Lubigan, Moriones town proper and even barangays Tibagan and Balanti of Tarlac City, connecting to Bulsa river. The dam is also a danger to Tarlac city proper as it is just about 25-km away along the Mt. Ngile river, while it is 23-km away from McArthur highway.
“The dam is more danger than benefit. This is a multi-purpose dam which simply means constructing with hydro-electric power plant and operated by a private firm as this is under build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme. This is promoted under the president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership program. Our sources said that China’s Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) is being wooed to finance the project,” Canlas said.
The group also criticized the project as it was allocated with an aggregate budget of P1.6-billion from 2002 to the present year through Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) and the General Appropriations Act of 2010 while no farmer benefitted from supposed irrigation.
AMGL said that president Aquino is planning to bring calamity to Tarlac as what San Roque Dam has brought to Pangasinan and nearby provinces. The group said that the seasonal release of water of San Roque dam has resulted P181-million damages to agriculture during continuous rains on September of 2004 and about P35-million during typhoong Pepeng in October 2009.
“With the destructive flooding dams cause, the benefits of irrigation have been always wiped out and worse, farmers and residents are brought to deeper indebtedness. The Balog-balog dam issue is not just a concern for farmers and indigenous peoples, this encompasses all sectors,” Canlas said.
“We urge support from all sectors to oppose the Balog-balog Multi-Purpose Dam project as it is a certain man-made disaster in case it pushes through,” the peasant leader called. #