A decades-long dispute between a local tribe and the government over the right to implement the Casecnan Multi-purpose Irrigation and Power Project in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya may have finally been resolved, according to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Benny Antiporda.

In his report during a briefing conducted by the National Disaster Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), Antiporda reported that a NIA team was able to proceed to the Casecnan Dam to check on its safety and inspect the over tapping at the Casecnan intake.

Antiporda said this was made possible with the permission of the Bugkalot tribe, which has been asserting its rights over the Casecnan Dam, which it has asserted to be situated on ancestral land. The dispute with the government had been going on for more than 30 years.

“Decades na po ang issue na ito (This issue has been unresolved for decades) with the indigenous people in the area. Based on the conversation between their Chieftain and the government, they will cooperate and let our people enter the said area for us to see that there will be no disaster. The dam can’t be maintained because of the on-going stand-off and nakabarikada ang ating mga Bugkalot indigenous people doon (the Bugkalot have barricaded the area),” said Antiporda.

He said this was undertaken “to ensure the protection of dam integrity for public safety and unhampered irrigation service delivery with the on-going calamity”.

NIA initiated the dialogue between the Bugkalot Ancestral Domain Environmental Council and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), and other concerned government agencies. And this dialogue resulted in favor of the Bugkalot tribe, according to Antiporda.

“So, through the effort of the Department of National Defense Secretary, as well as the NIA, and PSALM, ay nakausap na natin ‘yong kanilang (we were able to talk to their) Chieftain na si Daniel Pasigian, and they willing to cooperate. And of course, the government is also willing to cooperate with them when it comes to the benefits that they will receive,” Antiporda disclosed.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/11/02/nia-moves-to-settle-decades-long-dispute-between-govt-local-tribe-over-nueva-vizcaya-dam/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nia-moves-to-settle-decades-long-dispute-between-govt-local-tribe-over-nueva-vizcaya-dam)