The intensity 5 earthquake that shook General Nakar last November 10, 2016 should convince MWSS and NEDA to totally scrap the Kaliwa dam in General Nakar and search for creative alternatives open even to the latest pro-environment and renewable energy technologies. In no way should they endanger peoples’ lives especially now that climate has become unpredictable due to global warming.
We should not forget that, being situated in the “Ring of Fire”, Luzon was devastated with the intensity X earthquake in July 15, 1880 destroying many structures including the churches in Manila, Infanta and Mauban.
Chief Volcanologist Renato Solidum said that anytime now an earthquake of intensity IX can happen. The last time that West Valley Fault moved was in 1658. For the last 1400 years it has moved 4 times at an interval of 400-600 years. No one can say that Manila is far from General Nakar. The 1968 Casiguran earthquake of intensity IX killed 260 people with the collapse of Ruby Towers in Manila which is 400 kilometers away. The Kaliwa dam is just a few kilometers for the Infanta Segment of the Philippine Fault Zone which runs through General Nakar too.
Dr. Steve Godilano who studied the Kaliwa dam recognized the inconsistency of MWSS’s denial that Kaliwa dam is sitting on an earthquake fault because in the plan itself MWSS provides for a higher factor of safety.
MWSS has been hiding the truth from the Dumagats and the 100,000 stakeholders downstream in Infanta, General Nakar and Real. We need transparency, not manipulated data. All documents related to the Centennial Dams must be made available to the public. Moreover, even some LGUs who are supposed to look into the welfare of their constituents have been campaigning for the dams and intimidating with threats those government personnel who oppose the dams while ordinary people are deprived of basic services.
We, the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance, re-iterate our call for MWSS, NCIP and LGUs to be totally transparent. Put the welfare of the people of today and of the next generation over and above any monetary considerations. We call on the people to be fearless: let us be inspired by Pope Francis to protect the vulnerable and save Sierra Madre – our common home.
Fr. Pete Montallana
November 13, 2016