Philippines: President eyes police power to implement dam project

  • President Duterte on 28 Oct 19 warned that he would use his “extraordinary powers” to implement the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project in Tanay, Rizal province, as a means to solve the water crisis in Metro Manila.
  • Amid the rotational service interruptions affecting many places in Metro Manila and objections to the possible effects of Kaliwa Dam, the President stressed that his primary concern was the people’s welfare and that he could not let them go without water.
  • “You have every right to protest if it really, would place your place in jeopardy. But if the safeguards are there, and between your concerns and the crisis that we are trying to avoid, I will use the extraordinary powers of the presidency to … I cannot just allow people to go about without water, even for drinking,” he said on 28 Oct 19.
  • Private water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. have recently implemented rotational service interruptions in Metro Manila to ensure that the stock in Angat Dam will last until 2020.
  • Environmental advocates are protesting the construction of Kaliwa Dam, while others are opposing it on grounds that it will displace indigenous peoples.
  • The President, however, pointed out that his greater concern was the “greatest good for the greatest number,” and that what was important was that safeguards were placed while building the dam.
  • Asked how he would use his extraordinary powers amid the looming water crisis, the President said he might resort to using the “police power of the state.”
  • “Expropriation, or outright police power. Straight away. You just go to court and file a case if you want. I am there, and I will start to find a way to connect the water to the people,” he said.

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