Written by Mike G. Kulat
Monday, 20 December 2010 06:29
We, the undersigned Civil Society Organizations and Community leaders of Moro-Indigenous Peoples gathered at Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, hereby declare and manifest our STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF PULANGI DAM V because it will destroy our much-valued ancestral domain and heritage from our ancestors that are the foundations of our unique identity since time immemorial.
That we hereby declare this opposition to the construction of the Pulangi Mega Dam V on the following grounds, to wit:
1. That construction of the Pulangi Dam V will submerge 22 barangays and communities of the Moro-Indigenous Peoples located upstream of the proposed site of the dam;
2. That eventually the Burial site of Apu Mamalu with all other burial grounds, the sacred places, hunting grounds, and heritage sites of both our ancestors and contemporary generations will be inundated by the Pulangi Dam V, thereby forever erasing our identity as indigenous and cultural communities;
3. That the Pulangi Dam V construction will lead to the physical, economic, political and cultural displacement of all the Moro-Indigenous Peoples who are residents of the barangays and villages both upstream and downstream of the dam site;
4. Thus, Pulangi Dam V will engrave and eventually end the history of harmonious relationships, peaceful co-existence and blood-brotherhood of the Menuvo and Maguindanaon tribes as both indigenous along the Pulangi stretch for so long a time in the past.
5. That on the downstream of the proposed Pulangi Dam V, the lives and living condition of around 1,094,170 Moro, Indigenous Peoples and Settlers (*2000 Census) living in 27 municipalities in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Maguindanao and the city of Cotabato will be adversely affected;
6. That the Ligawasan Marsh, notwithstanding that it was declared as a “Game Refuge and Birds Sanctuary” since 1941 and as part of National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) under RA#7586, is also a repository of Moro culture and heritage;
7. That the construction of the Pulangi Dam V will eventually destroy the Pulangi River which is the only tributary supplying water to the Ligawasan Marsh;
8. That ruining the flow of the Pulangi River will endanger the Ligawasan Marsh of being drained thereby its significant heritage as well as economic value to the Maguindanaon tribes will be lost forever;
9. And finally, the construction of the Pulangi Dam V, when pushed through, is a blatant violation of the rights of the Moro and Indigenous Peoples affected as inscribed in both domestic and international laws such as but not limited to basic human rights laws, Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution, RA#7586, RA#8371 (IPRA Law), UNDRIP Declarations and other instruments.
Now, let it be declared further, this day henceforth as the start of the symbolic revival of UNITY, BROTHERHOOD AND COOPERATION between Moro and Indigenous Peoples to relentlessly pursue all available legal and peaceful means to oppose the construction of Pulangi Dam V and other form of development aggression within our ancestral domain.
That in pursuit of our desire to protect our identity, culture and ancestral domain, we are cognizant of the important role of “support groups” as we welcome others both within and without who sympathize with our plight as cultural minorities.
Signed this 30th day of August 2010 at Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province in the Island of Mindanao, South of the Philippines.
DATU WILMAR ‘Bobong’ AMPUAN
Chairperson,NATABUK Federation Inc.
DUMA MASCUD, AL-HAJ
Chairman CBCS – Kutawato Regional