Campaign on San Roque Multipurpose Dam Project
in the Philippines Funded by JEXIM
The San Roque Multipurpose Project in the Philippines is a BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) project by a consortium of Japanese and US companies with total project costs of $1.05 billion, and the JEXIM alone is going to provide $500 million loans in total. The project consists of a 345MW hydropower plant, irrigation, water quality management, and flood control projects. This Communities of Ibaloy, indigenous people living upstream of the dam, are strongly opposing the project, insisting that they will lose their access to land as a consequence of the project.
Meetings with JEXIM
Since August 1998 when the FoE-J got involved in the project, we have had series of consultations and meetings with JEXIM staffs to convey the concerns of local people, to educate them about the sensitive nature of indigenous people’s culture, history and lifesyle, and to request to reconsider JEXIM’s support to the project. Foe-J sent many letters to JEXIM to point out many problems in the project and called for withdrawal from the project with many other groups and individuals concerned. As a consequence of FoE-J’s campaign, JEXIM re-conducted environmental impact studies in January 1999, in which they found the impacts of the project much larger than the initial estimate. They were compelled to halt disbursements of the loan and to re-prepare action plans. Our campaign made JEXIM to pay much more consideration for environmental and social impacts, though they finally decided in September 1999 to release the loan and to provide another additional loan.
Education of Diet Members and government officials
FoE-J kept informing the problems and concerns regarding the project to several Diet members and to related government offices such as Ministry of Finance. That was very effective in pressuring the JEXIM. Cooperation with local NGOs and project affected communities FoE-J is running the campaign in close cooperation with local NGOs. Ikuko Matsumoto visited the affected areas in October 1998 and in August 1999 to discuss about further cooperation with local NGOs, and to conduct studies on the present situation and possible impacts by the project including compensation and rehabilitation plans, mainly through hearings from local people. She also had several meeting in Manila with the local JEXIM office, National Power Corporation and local governments. These visits resulted in expanding cooperation with Manila-based NGOs.
With cooperation of several specialists in different fields and International Rivers Network in the U.S., we conducted technical analysis of the Environment Impact Assessment and other materials of the project.
Local People’s Visit to Japan
With other Japanese NGOs, FoE-J invited 3 representatives of Ibaloy people in May 1999 and one in September 1999. In both visits, the representatives had meetings with JEXIM, companies involved in the project, several Diet members and Japanese people concerned in Tokyo and different cities, to convey their concerns over the project. We also had demonstrations in front of JEXIM and other companies involved. Their visit to Japan was very effective to draw public attention, with much media coverage including a TV program.