Imagine how the sleeping prince, who is now dubbed by millennials as a “manipulative sad boy” of a president could afford to sacrifice the country’s protection against strong typhoons and the like, while continuing to implement projects in the Sierra Madre, like the Kaliwa Dam joint project. The audacity, indeed, considering how poor our disaster risk reduction and management is with the likes of the Bicol Region and Cagayan as testaments amid the back-to-back hit of Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.
Some may say that the objectives of this project are for the better, especially as dams “provide water for domestic, industry and irrigation purposes,” according to the website Teach Engineering, but how could we assure everyone’s benefits if their only goal right from the start is to solve the water crisis just in Metro Manila. Let me reiterate the phrase “just in Metro Manila,” given that they have no concrete plans nor actions for the inhabitants nearby who would, for sure, be greatly affected by its consequences.
We could not just let the long-time residents of the REINA area (Real, Infanta, and General Nakar) in Quezon, indigenous groups, and environmental advocates “sacrifice” for the sake of the “common good” if there are way more alternatives to choose from. Typhoon Winnie brought massive flooding and landslides, alongside taking “more than a thousand lives last 2004. That was like 16 years ago, and it would be so sick to have them in “replay” mode to give way for a project that does not even care about their well-being, livelihood, and the like.
More so, Sierra Madre has had enough of this battering just from the illegal logging and continuous deforestation. Adding up another one could be a big blow for these mountain ranges that protected us more than our leaders did. It is not just ungrateful to start with, but it is also suicide of sorts. The Philippines gets an average of six to nine typhoons per year, according to an Asian Development Bank report.
It is better to relocate this project somewhere safe and free of “collateral damages” if not change or revise the whole framework. Accordingly, connecting to the supposed affected citizens by making them understand the why’s and how’s and the well-derived contingency plans for their welfare and livelihood shall be discussed prior.
If not, this P12 billion-peso project — which could fund mass testing or vaccine trials — would rather break than make Filipinos’ lives further. It would be no surprise to see more Filipinos recognizing and fighting our government’s “corny clownery” when that happens.
Elyjah Jann S. Rosales is currently a Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Sciences student at the Bulacan State University-Main Campus. He is a campus journalist since Grade 4 and he continues the same endeavor as an Online Press Conference (OPC) advocate while amplifying certain causes such as political engagement, human rights, press freedom, and the likes. University-wide, he is also eyeing to participate in student publications and National Democracy Movements (NDMOs) like Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, Rise 4 Education, and more that share the same aim: for the betterment of the country. For comments and suggestions: email@example.com.