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Bishop appeals to protect IPs, environment from Kaliwa Dam project

Bishop appeals to protect IPs, environment from Kaliwa Dam project

Bishop Valentin Dimoc of Bontoc-Lagawe celebrates Mass to mark this year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Sagada, Mountain Province, Oct. 10.

By CBCP News

October 12, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A church official marked this year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday by urging Filipinos to protect the IPs and the environment from the “threats” posed by the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project.

Bishop Valentin Dimoc, head of the bishops’ Commission on Indigenous Peoples, said that the P12.2 billion project “threatens the integrity and the way of life” of the Dumagat-Remontado tribes.

“So they need to be protected because their lives are being threatened by this kind of project,” said Dimoc, who is also the Apostolic Vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe.

The prelate made the statement in his homily during Mass at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Sagada, a town in Mountain Province.

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 IP Sunday concluded the Philippine Church’s observance this year of the Season of Creation, which started September 1.

Dimoc pointed out that the celebration 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 IPs, they are also protecting the integrity of the environment.

“We protect the IPs, we protect the integrity of the environment. We exert effort to protect nature, we also protect the IPs,” the bishop added.

“This is what it means to celebrate the Season of Creation and conclude it with the IP Sunday,” he also said.

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