The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. With the increased intensity of typhoons and rainfall, we must, together, conserve and protect the Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve, and safeguard biodiversity in one of the Philippines' last remaining forested mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre.
Building the Kaliwa Dam - New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP) will disrupt ecological balance, destroy biodiversity and indigenous sacred sites of the Dumagat-Remontados, the resilience of our rich, natural ecosystems, and the lives that depend on these.
Why is this important?
1. The Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve (KWFR) is home to the indigenous Dumagat-Remontado communities, who have been stewards of their ancestral domain within the Sierra Madre since time immemorial. The Tinipak River spring is a sacred site in Barangay Daraitan, within the Dumagat-Remontado ancestral domain and declared an indigenous community conserved area. Building the 60-meter Kaliwa Dam poses the threat of inundation of portions of Barangay Daraitan and Tinipak River, as well as Infanta in Quezon.
2. Daraitan and Tinipak River provides important economic activities to local communities, from tourism, to non-timber forest products for livelihood.
3. Daraitan and Tinipak River is an ecologically important water system that enhances climate resilience. It provides key ecosystem services to downstream areas, playing an integral role in regulating water flow to the National Capital Region. Forests act as natural water filters. Globally, forested watersheds supply 75% of the world’s accessible freshwater needs. (FAO, 2016)
4. Daraitan and Tinipak River are within the Kaliwa Watershed, home to rich biodiversity and threatened wildlife, including the critically endangered Philippine Eagle. Other important species include the Endangered Northern Philippine Hawk-eagle, the Philippine Brown Deer, the Philippine Warty Pig, the Vulnerable Northern Rufous Hornbill, the Critically Endangered Philippine Eagle, and restricted-range birds of the Luzon Endemic Bird Area. The KWFR was declared a reserve by virtue of Presidential Proclamation (PP) 573 dated June 26, 1969. In April 18, 1977, PP 1636 was also issued declaring Kaliwa Watershed as a National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Disrupting natural ecosystems and local livelihoods by building the Kaliwa - NCWSP Dam is not the solution to water security nor sustainable development. Forests have a crucial role in building and strengthening resilience. There is a need to explore other viable alternatives. The most urgent is to protect the critical Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve within the Sierra Madre. Save Daraitan and Tinipak River, and the lives and species that depend on these for survival.