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 planned China-funded Kaliwa Dam project.

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

“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 of 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 on 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.

  CBCP News

Image courtesy of CBCP News

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