Manila Bay Reclamation Project Update – Two Activists Abducted

Manila Bay Reclamation Project Update – Two Activists Abducted

On the Philippines, two young women – Jonila Castro (21) and Jhed Tamano (22) – were abducted on Saturday night (September 2). Both are organizing against the Manila Bay Reclamation Project. Jonila Castro is a dedicated volunteer with AKAP Ka Manila Bay, Jhed Tamano is a committed program coordinator for the Community and Church Program for Manila Bay under the Ecumenical Bishops Forum. They were on their way to conduct important consultations with coastal communities when they were snatched by armed individuals in Barangay Lati, Orion, Bataan.

When an action successfully challenges the status quo, those in power will do anything to stop them. Abducting and torturing activists not only affects them, but also scares others who want to voice their opinions against the destruction and oppression. Philippines has been one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental defenders. The last president, Rodrigo Duterte, was a vocal and staunch believer in stopping anyone who would challenge his actions. He was succeeded by Bongbong Marcos since 2022. However, the situation for environmental defenders have not yet improved. It has been over six days since the abduction and no news have yet surfaced about the situation of the two women. The failure of the law enforcement agencies to protect and rescue them breeds impunity among the perpetrators, which increases the likelihood of such events to take place in the future.

DGR Asia Pacific has been actively involved in the anti-reclamation actions. The following are some updates on the actions taken.

Consultation & Info-sharing at Las Pinas

August 26, 2023

This consultation and information sharing session was arranged and organised by Kamusta Ka, a senior citizen collective of Mutual Aiders in coordination with the Fisherfolk organizations called Tulungan ng Mangingisda ng Bernabe and Parish Church of Bernabe with the help coming from Local Autonomous and Mutual Aid Network (LAMAN) and Alyansa Tigil Mina.

Our partner community invited some resource speakers who can share information that tackles these issues of concern related to fisheries, rights & policy, Reclamation Project and Seabed Quarry. More than 80 people participated and have engaged with the discussion concerning their situation about the encroaching Reclamation Project in their coastal communities of Las Pinas.

From the people’s direct participation, they have come up with the following demand and suggestions:

  • Document all of the destructive incidents on their livelihoods made by the Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
  • Make a study about the negative impact of the Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
  • Compensate those already affected by the Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
  • Create a resolution made by the Fisherfolk organizations demanding to Stop Reclamation Project in Manila Bay
  • Arrange a dialogue with the City Agriculture Office/ Municipal Council/ Local Government Unit/ Committee on Environment

Focus Group Discussion

September 5, 2023
A focus group discussion and consultation with Fisherfolks Organization of Cavite City was organized. These fisherfolks are the people who have directly been affected by Seabed Quarrying and Reclamation Projects. According to them, the number of catch began to decrease immediately after the destructive activities started on their municipal water. The seabed quarrying has destroyed the reefs. Their fishing equipment, like the fishing nets have also been ruined by the boats operating on their fishing ground.

Despite the announcement by the Philippine President that all reclamation projects were suspended, the fisherfolks can see that the operation in their area is still ongoing. They want to fully stop this destructive activity that directly devastates the environment, the marine ecosystem of Manila Bay, and their livelihood.

This activity was organized by KALASAG, a local alliance in the province of Cavite where DGR Asia Pacific was only part of it.

You can support the campaign by signing the petition.

For more on the story, refer to the following links:

Photo by Michael Buillerey on Unsplash

Against the Seabed Quarry in Manila [Statement]

Against the Seabed Quarry in Manila [Statement]

Editor’s Note: The Manila Bay Reclamation Project is a series of projects around the bay in the cities of Manila, Pasay, Parañaque, Navotas, and Cavite. The projects- that should more accurately be called land grabs- ironically assert to “reclaim” the bay area for commercial, residential and tourism development. Offshore mining has started in the Manila Bay area.

Fisherfolks in the area have not been informed about the seabed quarry before it began. Now there are no fish for them to catch. Their entire livelihood has been destroyed. Many have relocated to other areas. The following is a statement by a coalition of organizations fighting for community rights and against the seabed quarry.

Statement on State of National Address

July 24, 2023

STATE OF NO ACTION (SONA). This is possibly our most apt evaluation of the performance of President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. and DENR Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga.

One full year in office, and yet PBBM and Secretary Loyzaga have not acted on the demands of mining-affected communities, particularly the residents of Sibuyan Island, Romblon and Brooke’s Point, Palawan.

Fact is, mining operations continue in both regions and the respective Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) of Altai Philippines Mining Corporation in Sibuyan and Ipilan Nickel Corporation in Brooke’s Point have not been cancelled.

During last year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) conducted a “serenade” at the DENR grounds addressing then newly-appointed DENR Secretary Loyzaga. We brought fruits and flowers as gifts, symbolizing the preservation of natural resources and our earnest desire to dialogue with the government.

Over the course of a year, grassroots communities have undertaken various activities to articulate our situation and push for our demands. The activities range from submission of petition letters and research studies, to vigils, dialogues and protest actions.

In particular, residents of Sibuyan and Brooke’s put up barricades demanding a halt in mining operations deemed illegal for lack of proper permits. People from both regions have been insistently asking the DENR for the cancellation of the MPSAs of the concerned mining companies.

The DENR did open its doors for consultations as well as dialogues with those either knocking on or protesting at its gates. They did give an ear to the leaders and representatives of mining-affected communities. They did promise to conduct investigations and address the concerns of people on the ground.

But, until now, mining-affected communities are still awaiting decisive government actions. Investigations have still to be conducted, mining operations have yet to be permanently stopped, and mining contracts have still to be cancelled.

Worse, while the demands of mining-affected communities are ignored, mining companies are given headway in their operations.

For instance, despite the moratorium in new applications for seabed quarrying permits imposed by the previous administration, seabed quarrying and offshore mining have become more active than ever.

Presently, there are 11 large-scale offshore mining projects all over the country. Also, based on a list obtained from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), there are 175 reclamation projects lined up at different stages of application.  According to environmental groups belonging to People’s NICHE, there are at least 46 reclamation projects in Manila Bay alone which would affect 32,000-hectares of fishing waters.

In the midst of a climate emergency, the continued destruction of nature through mining and other extractive activities is simply unacceptable. For the continued destructive operations of mining companies and the miserable conditions of people in mining-affected communities, we hold PBBM and the DENR fully accountable.

On this second State of the Nation Address, we strongly call on President Marcos and DENR Sec. Loyzaga to immediately and decisively act on the demands of the people.

Specifically, we demand a stop to destructive and illegal mining operations through the cancellation of large-scale mining contracts in Sibuyan and Brooke’s Point, and other sites of struggles. We also urgently call for a comprehensive review of seabed quarrying and offshore mining activities and a halt to the operations in Manila Bay.

We do not want to waste more time waiting. The time to act is NOW.
Pagkatapos ng usapan, AKSYON ANG KAILANGAN!


Alyansa Tigil Mina
Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party
Aksyon sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima (AKKMA)
Aksyon Verde
Alliances of Buguey for Community Development Advocates (Albucoda)
Alyansa Kontra Mina – Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental
Ang Aroroy Ay Alagaan, Inc (4As)
Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force (ABAKATAF)
Aroroy Youth Environmental Guardian (AYEG)
Bangan – Malabago Fisherfolk Association- BMFA
Bayay Sibuyanon Inc. (BSI)
Bileg Dagiti Babbae (Bileg)
Carrascal Cantilan Madrid Carmen Lanuza Baywatch (CCMCL Baywatch)
Convergence of Initiatives for Environmental Justice (CIEJ)
Didipio Earth Savers Multi- Purpose Association- (DESMA)
Guardians Brotherhood International Humanitarian Leadership, Inc.
Koalisyon ng Mamamayan at Sambayanan sa Northern at Sentral Luzon (Kumasa Na)
La Fraternidad Fisherfolk and Women Group (LAFFWO)
Living Laudatu Si
Marian Women Producers’ Cooperative (MWPC)
Maporac Aetas Organization- MAO
Nature Ambassadors of Sibuyan Island (NASI)
Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK)- Negros Oriental Provincial Council
Risktaker- AMKKAS (Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan para sa Kalikasan ng Kasibu)
Samahan ng Mangingisdang Kababaihan sa Minanga Este (Samakami)
Sibuyanon Against Mining (SAM)
Tagbuyawan Lakeshore Association
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
Tubajon People’s Council (TUPECO)
Unahin Lagi ang Diyos (UNLAD)
Working Youth of Tubay (WYC)
Zambales North Payao Fisherfolk Association (ZambaNorFa)

Philippines: Northern Negros National Park Threatened

Philippines: Northern Negros National Park Threatened

This article is based on communication from a comrade in the Negros province of the Philippines. There is ongoing destruction of the natural world in this area due to road construction, a planned airport, and clearing of the rainforest. The people on the front lines, being most affected, are calling for international solidarity and support.

On October the 18th this year, the first direct action regarding the Northern Negros National Park was taken by a group of concerned people. Food Not Bombs Bacolod Volunteers and concerned citizens have started a campaign to raise awareness about the ongoing destruction of the rainforest in the Negros area of the Philippines. The group has begun disseminating information to ensure other know about the ongoing harm being caused and to stand firmly IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE FOREST.

The group, focused their work in the city of Bacolod distributing printed placards, information flyers & leaflets and have been clear they are in direct opposition to any act of destruction. Food Not Bombs Bacolod condemns these injustices and the actions of the Local Government of Negros Island which sanctions the destruction of the  remaining rainforest of the island.

About Northern Negros National Park

A seasonally flooded caldera in Northern Negros National Park. Photo by Androkoy, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

The Northern Negros Natural Park is a protected area of the Philippines located in the northern mountainous forest region of the island of Negros in the Visayas. It is spread over five municipalities and six cities in the province of Negros Occidental and is the province’s largest watershed and water source for seventeen municipalities and cities including the Bacolod metropolitan area.

The park belongs to the Negros–Panay Biogeographic Region. It is one of two remaining lowland forests on Negros island, the other being in the Dumaguete watershed area in Mount Talinis on the southern end of the island in Negros Oriental.

The park is a habitat to important fauna including the Visayan spotted deer, Visayan warty pig, Philippine naked-backed fruit bat, and the endangered Negros shrew.

Number of endemic and threatened species of birds have been documented in the park, which includes the Visayan hornbill, Negros bleeding-heart, white-winged cuckooshrike, flame-templed babbler, white-throated jungle flycatcher, Visayan flowerpecker and green-faced parrotfinch.

Flora documented within the park include hardwood tree species (Dipterocarps), as well as palms, orchids, herbs and trees with medicinal value. Very rare is the local species of the cycas tree (locally called pitogo), probably a Cycas vespertilio, considered living fossil from the times of dinosaurs. Another prehistoric flora is present in the park like the tree ferns and the also protected Agathis philippinensis, (locally known as almaciga).

While We Were Distracted

As we know during 2020 most nations have been preoccupied trying to survive lockdown. During this time the local government of Negros Island, Protection And Management Board,  Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) failed in its responsibilities to protect the remaining watershed and rainforest. Road construction on the island started in the midst of Global Pandemic.

Instead the DENR legitimized the road construction on the Island and in doing so has increased the likelihood of communities on the island being destroyed in the medium to long term.  The DENR, along with the Department of Public Works and the Department of Highways have acted in a way that swept aside the needs of local communities, that ignored the rights of the natural world and in doing so have colluded to strengthen their power. In short they have become the mechanism and tool of destruction for the island.

The Aerotroplis Project

The plans to build a new International Airport in Manila has also hit the radar of environmental activists. The people and environmental groups in Bulakan and Bulacan have shared concerns about the devastation this will cause to the natural world, to wildlife (including fish) populations, bird populations, air pollution, and airplanes flying in the sky.  As always the focus is on economic benefits rather than the health of planet or people. There has been little or no analysis of the environmental impact.

Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), told the BusinessMirror that the presence of the bird populations are bioindicators of good ecological health. He stated “This is of crucial importance in these times when there are multiple epidemiological risks from pandemics, socioeconomic loss, and climate emergency all emerging from the disrupted environment. Massive land-reclamation activities in Manila Bay threatens the last remaining wetlands where migratory birds roost. The Bulacan Aerotropolis is one of the biggest threats that will destroy 2,500 hectares of mangroves and fisheries. It is outrageous that transportation mega infrastructure is being touted for economic recovery when global transportation is expected to remain disrupted until 2021.

Critical Mass Ride

Following the actions from Food Not Bombs Bacolad, on November 8th Local Autonomous Networks held a discussion to consider the ongoing problem. They agreed to organize a coordinated Critical Mass Ride. The ride involved concerned people in the Archipelago from the different islands of the Philippines gathering to travel around the main city to raise awareness.
Food Not Bombs and Local Autonomous Networks have issued a call to action to support them in opposing the road construction and the subsequent destruction of the Rainforest that will kill the livelihood of hundreds of families.

The call to action in the Archipelago is just a start. They have been clear they will not stop nor be silenced until the destruction planned has been stopped. They are calling for International Solidarity to all readers.

Join The Resistance. Join The Fight!

Save the Remaining Forest & Watershed of Northern Negros Natural Park, Stop the Patag-Silay-Calatrava-Cadiz Road Construction.  STOP the Bulacan Aerotropolis Project.

Activists fighting for their lands swept up in Philippines crackdown

Activists fighting for their lands swept up in Philippines crackdown

  • A security crackdown in the Philippines targeting an armed communist insurgency has swept up environmental and land defenders in a raid on Oct. 31.
  • International humanitarian and church groups have also been included in the military’s list of “legal front groups” of the outlawed New People’s Army and tied to terror financing.
  • Security forces rounded up a total of 63 activists: 57 on the island of Negros and six in Manila. They include leaders of peasant groups, farmers, and anti-reclamation activists.
  • At least six of the arrested critical groups are environmental and land defenders advocating for land campaigns on Negros and against the ongoing Manila Bay reclamation.

MANILA — Environment and land rights leaders were among the activists rounded up in a new wave of arrests in the Philippines as part of the government’s extensive counter-insurgency campaign to flush out sympathizers of the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) while international humanitarian groups, alongside local church groups, were accused of being “legal communist fronts” and aiding terrorism.

A total of 57 activists were arrested on Oct. 31 in Negros, an island 850 kilometers (530 miles) from Manila, while another six were arrested in Manila on Nov. 5. Among the arrested are farmers and peasant group leaders fighting for their land rights in Negros Island and activists opposing the ongoing Manila Bay reclamation project. They were arrested in security crackdowns on major left-leaning organizations, with search warrants issued by a court in Metro Manila on Oct. 30.

Environmental groups have denounced the arrests, which they say involved “planting evidence” in the form of explosives and guns in the homes of activists. Kalikasan PNE, an environmental NGO, says the tactic is similar to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, known locally as Tokhang, which has left nearly 6,000 people dead since 2016.

“We condemn this recent surge of Tokhang-style raids and arrests against land and environmental defenders and other activists by the police and military forces,” Clemente Bautista, international network coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, said in a statement. He added that the strategy “fits a national and global trend of criminalization of land rights and environmental activism not only in the Philippines but globally,” echoing the findings of the recent “Enemies of the State?” report by the environmental watchdog Global Witness.

“[M]any governments are manipulating their legal systems and intimidating defenders with aggressive criminal and civil cases, often to further the interests of big business,” the report says. “This often goes hand-in-hand with incendiary rhetoric that brands defenders as ‘terrorists’ or criminals in other guises, making attacks on them more likely and seemingly legitimate.”

International humanitarian organizations and church groups have also been branded by the Philippine military as “legal fronts” for the NPA, according to a list shown to lawmakers in a briefing on Nov. 6. The military identified 18 organizations — including Oxfam Philippines; the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), a fellowship of Protestant and non-Catholic churches; and the Farmers Development Center (Fardec), a nonprofit — as “front organizations of local communist terrorist groups (CTG).”

In another list, Oxfam International and Oxfam UK were labeled as “foreign funding agencies wittingly or unwittingly providing funds to CTG front organizations.”

“Oxfam categorically denies these accusations,” the organization said in a statement, adding that the new development is a “troubling situation” that places “communities and partners we work with at risk.”

“In a country where poverty remains, and poor communities are continually struck by disasters, we strongly believe that organizations like ours should be encouraged, rather than hindered, from undertaking our programs,” Oxfam Philippines said.

The Department of National Defense and the military have since clarified that the list is “unverified” and that the organizations listed are “not red-tagged” — that is, not affiliated with the banned Communist Party and its armed wing, the NPA. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the list was based on “documents captured from all operations in the country,” news outlet Rappler reported.

In April, the country’s police warned students about getting involved in potential communist groups outside schools, and the rhetoric heightened in August when the government accused some NGOs and state schools of being hotbeds of subversion. This is the first time, however, that international development organizations and church groups have landed on such a list.

Groups were on high alert as early as September after reports of possible raids circulated among them. Kalikasan PNE filed complaints with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and the group and its partners, Global Witness and the World Resources Institute (WRI), have also engaged in a series of public forums and dialogues with representatives of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Congress on Oct. 26 over the incidents.

Sixty-four local lawmakers, three belonging to the affected party-list groups, have also demanded an end to the government’s crackdown on activists, party-list groups Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Gabriela Women’s Party. Both Bayan Muna and Gabriela are left-leaning organizations that currently hold congressional seats in the Philippines’ party-list system, in which underrepresented or single-issue parties receive a quota of congressional seats.

In Negros: Land rights leaders, party-list members arrested

The wave of arrests, however, is not new in Negros, where President Duterte dispatched seven military units and an additional 300 police personnel in August to quell a state of “lawlessness” that saw a spate of killings with 15 people gunned down in July alone.

Fifty-seven people were arrested as suspected members of the communist insurgency, while the military raided the offices of groups including the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW). Among those arrested were Danny Tabura of the KMU’s Negros chapter and John Milton Lozande, an NFSW representative who conducts land cultivation campaigns in Negros. These campaigns, locally called bungkalan, are a source of tension as they involve farmers taking over contested farmlands that are covered by the agrarian reform law but have yet to be titled and distributed. Lozande was eventually released alongside 48 other activists, leaving eight others who are still detained.

Nine sugarcane farmers and environmental defenders, including four women and two children, were killed in one such dispute in Sagay, a city in Negros, on Oct. 20, 2018. They were among the 30 environmental and land defenders killed in the Philippines that year, according to Global Witness, which named the country the most dangerous in the world for defenders. Since the Sagay massacre, the island has seen two waves of counter-insurgency campaigns, which the government called Sauron I and Sauron II, that resulted in the arrests of peasant group leaders and the killings of local officials, farmers and social workers.

Small farmers and indigenous peoples account for 81 percent of murdered land and environmental defenders under the Duterte administration, said Leon Dulce of Kalikasan PNE. “This shows that the unabated killings of farmers is the single biggest blow to the country’s environmental protection efforts,” he added. “Protecting the lives and rights of farmers will allow them to continue their innate role of protecting watersheds and agricultural lands.”

In Manila: Anti-reclamation activists rounded up

Of the six activists arrested in Manila, four were opponents of the ongoing Manila Bay reclamation project, which will cover 2,627 hectares (6,491 acres) of coastal and foreshore areas in the capital’s biggest body of water. Among them was Cora Agovida, a spokeswoman for Gabriela, the women’s party, and a campaigner against land reclamation in the capital’s bay. The three other anti-land reclamation activists arrested were Ram Carlo Bautista, Alma Moran and Reina Mae Nasino, all members of the Manila chapter of the Bayan Muna party.

All four are part of Manila Baywatch, a watchdog coalition of environmental and human rights groups monitoring the Manila Bay inter-agency rehabilitation program that Duterte created on Feb. 19. The rehabilitation cost of the bay is estimated at 47 billion pesos ($924 million) and includes massive relocation projects for illegal settlers. The grassroots campaign seeks to “ensure that the rehab program addresses the threats of ecological destruction, flooding, and community displacement posed by reclamation projects.”

“The Duterte administration is cracking down on Manila-based activists who exposed its sham Manila Bay rehab program for paving the way for reclamation development,” Dulce said. “The Manila Police District must be investigated and held accountable for their attacks are clearly meant to pave the way for reclamation and other infrastructure projects at all costs, including costing people’s rights and lives.”

Manila Bay, home to the Port of Manila, one of Asia’s oldest harbors and the heart of the Philippines’ shipping, industrial and commercial activities, is the site of 19 reclamation projects that are under development. Six of these projects are in the “detailed engineering stage,” or close to being implemented, according to data from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).

These reclamation projects include the 148-hectare Manila Solar City project and the contested Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project (MCCRRP), which will encroach on Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), a Ramsar site that’s a key stopping point for migratory birds.

Banner image of the arrested activists in Manila who oppose the Manila Bay reclamation program. Image courtesy of Defend Negros Movement

A Planned $1.1 Billion Hydroelectric Dam is Threatening the Largest Lake  in the Philippines, and Community Activists are Being Persecuted for Fighting Back

A Planned $1.1 Billion Hydroelectric Dam is Threatening the Largest Lake in the Philippines, and Community Activists are Being Persecuted for Fighting Back

Editor’s note: Activists and environmentalists in the Philippines take extreme risks by speaking out to protect land and water. The Philippines has consistently been ranked as the most dangerous country in the world for environmental defenders. This story includes reference to 68-year-old environmental defender Daisy Macapanpan, who was arrested on what appear to be trumped-up charges for resisting the Ahunan pumped hydroelectric dam. This repression is merely the beginning.

Deep Green Resistance has collaborated with grassroots activists in the Philippines for many years. Some of our allies are involved in this fight, and are raising funds to print educational materials, hold events, and support community activism against the Ahunan hydro project by providing expertise, assisting in connections with lawyers, help getting international media coverage, and more. You can donate to these community organizers via PayPal to this email address. This story has not previously been reported in the international press.

MANILA — Casino billionaire Enrique Razon, one of the richest men in the Philippines, is planning a $1.1 billion hydropower dam which threatens Laguna De Bay, the largest lake in the nation and one of the largest in Southeast Asia, as well as the community of Pakil and rainforests on the flanks of the Sierra Madre mountains on the lake’s east bank.

Prime Infrastructure Capital corporation’s Ahunan Pumped-Storage Hydropower Project would destroy nearly 300 hectares of rainforest, leach toxic chemicals into Laguna De Bay, and could jeopardize the water supply for more than 20,000 residents of the area. 

Local residents fear that the project could worsen typhoon flooding and lead to landslides, will destroy natural pools that are used in religious practices, and that the region’s frequent earthquakes could damage the dam and reservoir — which is planned to be built on Mt. Inumpong which rises above their community and that is riven by three major fault lines — leading to catastrophic failure.

Despite widespread community opposition, the project is set to break ground in 2023. Community organizers allege that illegal drilling is already taking place and that the Philippe army is guarding the site. 

On June 11th, 68-year-old environmental defender Daisy Macapanpan, one of the leaders of the community opposition, was arrested in her home for “rebellion” after delivering a speech against the project. allegedly by 40 police officers with no warrant. She was released on August 10th on bail. Illegal detentions and arrests of environmentalists are common in the Philippines, which has also been ranked as the deadliest country for environmental defenders.

On August 8th, following extensive pressure from the communities and allegations of illegal conduct, the Municipal Councils and Chieftains of four directly impacted communities revoked a previous “no objection” resolution in favor of the project that had been in place since September 2021.

On August 23rd, the Department of Energy and Natural Resources Environmental Management Bureau and the community of Pakil dispatched representatives to investigate allegations on ongoing illegal construction. 

ahunan hydroelectric resistance

Community organizers gathered in Pakil in August 2022 to resist the Ahunan hydroelectric dam project.

Pumped-storage hydropower is unlike regular hydropower dams, which block a river’s flow to produce electricity. Instead, pumped hydro storage (PHS) is an energy storage method. It depends on finding (or engineering) a site where two sizable reservoirs or natural water bodies at significantly different elevations can be connected by pipes. To store energy, operators pump water from the lower to the upper reservoir, and to use the stored energy, let it run back down through electrical power generation turbines. 

According to the book Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What we Can Do About It, pumped-storage hydropower dams kill fish, distribute invasive species, destroy riparian vegetation and harm wetlands, decrease water quality, block aquatic migration, and contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The book also states that “these facilities lead to more fossil fuels being burnt” because of inefficiencies in the process. 

The Ahunan Pumped-Storage Hydropower Project would produce 1,400 MW of electricity at full flow, none of which would go to the local community. Prime Infrastructure Capital corporation and the Philippines Department of Energy call the project “clean energy.”

The fish who live in Laguna De Bay are an important source of food for the 8.4 million people living in the surrounding communities. A petition to halt the project has been signed by more than 6,000 of the 15,000 voting-age residents closest to the proposed project. 

The World Commission on Dams estimates that at least 40 million to 80 million people have been displaced by dams.

Featured image by Ramon FVelasquez. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.